60 IDC detainees had access to 'escape route' we chose not to go

By press­ing their bodies against a flim­sy sheet of gal­vanise to cre­ate a space they could fit through, five Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre (IDC) de­tainees es­caped while of­fi­cers re­laxed at a Christ­mas gath­er­ing last Thurs­day.

Two de­tainees, who told Guardian Me­dia they wit­nessed the es­cape, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view yes­ter­day that the five men were in the tele­vi­sion room in the cen­tre of the com­pound when they climbed the iron bars, pushed the gal­vanise and crawled through the open­ing on­to the roof. At the time, the eye­wit­ness­es said, of­fi­cers were par­tak­ing in a Christ­mas gath­er­ing out­doors.

Po­lice have iden­ti­fied the es­capees as Guyanese na­tion­al Ryan Badal, 23, Ja­maican na­tion­al Kr­ish­na Bai­ley, 22 and Venezue­lans Jose Luis Ramirez Yanez, 27, Rod­ney Noel Reyes Men­doza, 24 and Luis Si­fontes, 32.

A se­nior of­fi­cial at the IDC told Guardian Me­dia that an in­ter­nal re­port on the in­ci­dent con­firmed the men es­caped from the tele­vi­sion room, ran along the rooftop and jumped over the perime­ter fence.

The of­fi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of strict anonymi­ty, said the men es­caped short­ly be­fore 7 pm but of­fi­cers on­ly dis­cov­ered the men were miss­ing three hours lat­er dur­ing an of­fi­cial head count.

One of the de­tainees who wit­nessed the in­ci­dent said, "Many of us were aware of the es­cape and the route they used and about 50 or 60 per­sons could have es­caped with­in that three hours be­fore the of­fi­cers came to check on us but we chose not to leave, since most of us be­ing held here are not crim­i­nals."

North­ern Di­vi­sion of­fi­cers con­tin­ue their ef­forts to re­cap­ture the five men.

Reporter: Mark Bassant

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