THE team of police investigators into the July 24 prison break has been increased, according to Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
This should hasten the investigation into how three remand prisoners got access to guns and a hand grenade, as well as who assisted them with the plot, which left a police officer dead.
And the Prison Service is conducting its own internal investigation as three prison officers, including a member of the Prison Service executive, are expected to be served with suspension letters today.
Reporters caught up with Williams yesterday morning in St James, where he was the main speaker following a walk-about through the community to highlight the issue of domestic violence, as well as celebrate the 60th anniversary of women in the Police Service.
Speaking about the case, he said: “There has been excellent progress but they need to continue the investigation as it is one which extends beyond just a few persons. It is an assessment on an entire operation for the escape of the prisoners and that takes some time to complete, so the team assigned to Deputy Commissioner of Police Glen Hackett has been increased.” Williams said Hackett “took a deliberate decision in light of the extent of the investigation to add investigators to the team so that this investigation can be completed in the shortest time”.
“At the completion of the investigation, they (the police) will in fact consult with the Director of Public Prosecutions for directions and following those directions charges will be laid,” he added.
On July 24, Hassan Atwell, Alan “Scanny” Martin and Christopher “Monster” Selby, wielded guns and a grenade to break free from the Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street.
As they escaped, they shot at police officers stationed outside the jail and killed 27-year-old Police Constable Sherman Maynard. The three then fled the scene in a blue Nissan Navara, but they did not get far and were stopped by the police.
Martin was killed in a shoot-out with police.
Martin was one of the 12 men on trial for the 2006 kidnapping and murder of businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, while Atwell was awaiting trial for the last six years on an assortment of charges, including kidnapping, robbery, robbery with violence, possession of arms and ammunition, and sexual assault.
He was killed by unknown assailants the Sunday after he escaped.
Selby surrendered to the police two days after the escape, on the night of July 26. Williams was also asked about the recent settlement with regard to wage negotiations for police officers.
“It’s something positive and I hope it helps them to focus on the job at hand and, as you know, we have been bringing to the attention of the public the drop in crime,” he said. “The reduction is evident but the public is generally interested in the issue of violence and how we can drive the violence down, including murders, and this entire walk today is about violence and how we as an organisation drive violence down.”