TWO prison escapees still at large, Olatungi Denbow and Michael Findley, have issued a video message saying they are unarmed and are willing to turn themselves in once they receive “real justice.”
On May 15, the two were part of a group of eight prisoners who escaped from the Remand Yard at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca; the circumstances of the escape remain under investigation. Six of the men have been recaptured: Stefon Austin of Erin; Joshua Janet of Brasso Seco, Paria; Mikhale Mohammed of Wallerfield, Arima; Brent Johnson of Five Rivers, Arouca; Atiba Sealy of Five Rivers, Arouca and Kerry Valentino of Quash Trace, Sangre Grande.
A reward of $50,000 is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information that can lead to the men’s recapture.
Denbow of Dan Kelly, Picton Road, Laventille and Findley of Laventille, both murder accused, remain on the run.
Prisons Commissioner Gerard Wilson, speaking with the media before the I Support Our Service launch at his official residence, Golden Grove, Arouca, said he viewed the video Sunday afternoon.
“And all I can say is that, based on what I am seeing and hearing, I hope that good sense prevails and they give themselves up. If they have to come in with a lawyer that makes better sense to me, based on the video they have ventilated. What is important now is that they give themselves up.” On claims that the escapees were not armed or dangerous, Wilson said “I wouldn’t be able to stand here and say whether that is a fact or not.”
He said up to Saturday he received information on sightings of the two but no confirmation of anyone being found.
Wilson said he received a preliminary report on Thursday evening and this report will have the facts, such as what time the escape occurred, where they escaped and what direction they took.
He said he has appointed an investigating officer to do an enquiry with a timeline of 30 days. He explained the enquiry will go further than the preliminary report and will be a fact-finding mission.
“We do the enquiry first and based on his findings we go further.”
He stressed the investigation was not “hell bent” on who is culpable but most importantly to get recommendations on the findings and probably the loopholes.
He said the six recaptured prisoners are still with the police
On the announcement by the Prime Minister on Friday that the Prisons Service will be asked to send a proposal to reinforce the Remand Yard perimeter fence, Wilson replied, “Whatever work is being done is not a knee-jerk reaction. This was in train for quite a while. The contract has been awarded and I know you would have been informed that one of the things that we are looking at is installing toilets in the cells.”
Wilson said the comprehensive rennovatiom also included the perimeter fence and other security areas which he would not be able to discuss publicly. In their recently issued a video message from an undisclosed location, Denbow did the majority of the talking.
Denbow said: “We not armed. We not dangerous. We don’t intend to be dangerous. We don’t intend to be a danger to society no how. We ready and willing to hand in weself (sic). We just want fairness. As soon as allyuh ready for real justice nah boy. Seriousness. Them in authority lewwe try and bring the country back to a calm nah. Lewwe be real. This not right. This not fair.”
He said all the authorities were concerned about is putting them back in prison. Denbow explained he was addressing allegations against them made by a “well-paid witness (name given);” he made similar accusations in a social media post last week. “2016 we was put in jail on a double murder charge. Witnesses’ statements don’t even add up slightly to the evidence brought by the investigating officers.”
He said this included the location.
“Police went to the crime scene moments after and found a crashed vehicle with two bodies inside it and spent shells heading away from the victim’s home in that direction. Along with statements from people who was ever around and hear shots and all them kind of thing. And parents of the victim who was at home at the time.”
“(The witness) gave a totally different location and a totally different story as to what took place that morning.
As I say before, the woman is a false witness in other murders. Just living lavish off the expense of the State and the expense of our freedom nah boy. And many others.”
He said the witness was using a statement which she uses in all her matters so she does not have to show up in court at any given time.
“That does just send the case to the High Court and putting you in a line-up of almost ten years in Remand waiting on a date. You still wouldn’t get a show of the witness because at the end is a statement she give (sic). She give seven witness statements (and) none of them not adding up (sic). And we bring certain things to the prosecution through the lawyer and they tell we is not of no use (sic). We beg them to find (the witness) so she could testify to no avail. Up to now.”
“It have a $50,000 (reward) for information leading to us, two ah we. That’s a $100,000 right? It eh costing the State so much to get somebody to appear in court? Lewwe be real. And she have seven statements–they could use that in court. Because that’s the purpose of the statements. So better allyuh use allyuh avenues to locate the witness and save the State some money. Understand? If allyuh really serious about fighting crime in the country.”
He continued: “At least three court matters I know about. Close to ten men in jail. That’s what this girl doing. Serious penalty over we head. In my matter alone is five ah we for a double murder. Relatives on both sides of the fence waiting on justice. They have they life to live. Lewwe have we day in court sooner rather than later. Please. Mr Prime Minister Rowley we eh hearing from yuh. We eh hearing nothing. Commissioner well put out $50,000 each (the reward was issued by Crimestoppers). We want to hear a reply from you concerning this. And the DPP. He have a big part to play.”
He said they have serious and good evidence showing that the witness is a false witness but it was not being used in court.
“Lewwe try and get to the bottom of this.”
Findley then commented they had some audio recordings but the video ends before they are played.