Prison officials are being praised after their diligence stopped what they claim was an attempted jail break of a top priority prisoner on Monday morning.
According to prison officials, a group of police officers showed up at the Port- of- Spain State Prison armed with a warrant to take Rajaee Ali to the Arima Magistrates’ Court for an ongoing matter where he is charged with possession of a lappe’s carcass, outside of the hunting season in 2014.
Ali is currently in prison for allegedly murdering special prosecutor Dana Seetahal SC and conspiracy to murder radio personality Kevaughn Savory.
In 2007 Ali escaped from the Maximum Security Prison, Arouca. Sources said there is a TT$6million reward for anyone who could free Ali.
Following the illegal removal of Vicky Boodram from prison last year, using what appeared to be legitimate court documents, prison officers have been vigilant.
Constable LeVon Sylvester, along with Special Reserve Woman Police Lisa Navarro, were jointly charged with dishonestly and fraudulently aiding and procuring Boodram’s unlawful release from the Golden Grove Women’s’ Prison, Arouca.
The two officers were also charged with misbehaviour in office by uttering a forged court note, namely 1503 of 2012, in the matter of PC Edwards versus Vicky Boodram, facilitating her unlawful release on November 27.
Sources said Ali is scheduled to appear in court next week and when the officers showed up to take him to court, a red flag was raised. The officers at the prison contacted their seniors who ordered them not to release Ali in care of the police. The officers left empty handed.
The incident was reported to an Assistant Commissioner of Prisons and not the police the T&T Guardian was told, for fear of a cover-up.
Prison sources added that their suspicion of an illegality is not enough to take to the police and have chalked the incident up to diligent work of the warrant officers attached to the prison.
Yesterday, in a direct response to the attempted jail break, prison officers cordoned off parts of Frederick Street and searched the prison.
Other arms of the security services were called in for assistance, including the police. When the T&T Guardian called Prisons Commissioner Gerard Wilson yesterday he denied that the search was in relation to the attempted jail break but was a “routine search” at the prison.
When contacted, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association Gerard Gordon said the officers should be commended.
He added that in the age of technological advancements, a sheet of paper should not be all that is needed to remove an inmate from the prison. He added that there should be some electronic tracking of prisoners that is accessible to the courts, police and prisons and that the documents be traceable and not “ any old sheet of paper”.
Following a deadly jailbreak in 2015, Ali claimed in a signed statement that he told the Port-of-Spain prison supervisor, acting Superintendent of Prisons Wilbert Lovell that he knew something “dangerous and foolish” was being planned.
In that incident Ali, it is alleged, was supposed to have been part of the escape. It was reported that 15 minutes after his warning, prisoners Allan ‘Scanny’ Martin, Hassan Atwell, and Christopher ‘Monster’ Selby, shot their way out of the Port-of-Spain prison. Atwell and Martin were killed by criminals and police respectively shortly after their escape. Selby, who was awaiting trial for murder surrendered to police and is facing a second murder charge for the death of Sherman Maynard, 27 who was killed during the escape.