A four-and-a-half-hour search of the Mazaruni Prison on Monday unearthed several contraband items, including seven cellular phones, a cutlass, improvised weapons, cigarette lighters, an earpiece, a cellphone battery and a charger.Some of the items found during the prison raid at MazaruniThe raid was reportedly conducted jointly by ranks of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service. Only recently, 19 cellular phones; five phone chargers; one flash drive; 15 cigarette lighters; two packs of cigarettes; five pairs of scissors; seven improvised weapons, and 774 grams of cannabis were found during a raid at the Camp Street penitentiary.On Friday last, Director of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuels had stated that a rank of the Guyana Police Force had been caught in his attempt to throw a bag containing contraband items into the Holding Bay of the Lusignan Prison on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).The plastic bag, when examined, was found to contain one cellular phone, one cellular phone charger, and seven packs of cigarettes. The officer was detained before subsequently being handed over to an Inspector of Police and escorted to a Police station for further investigation.Monday’s operation at the Mazaruni Prison came less than a month after a major find at the Lusignan Prison.During the Lusignan Prison raid, razor blades, 17 phone chargers, 24 lighters, a quantity of wires, eight metal spoons, two pairs of scissors, one plastic knife, two nail clips, a quantity of Ziplock bags, 6 bottles of pepper sauce, one pack of cards, three bottles of medicine, 4 bottles of oil with suspected cannabis seeds, one memory card, three mirrors and one wristwatch were discovered.The smuggling of contraband items into prisons remains a perennial problem within the system. Authorities have been working assiduously to curb the practice, and these efforts have resulted in several prison officers being caught facilitating the illegal trade, which is said to be “big business”.In fact, back in July, Samuels, had disclosed during a press conference that several prison officers had been relieved of their duties after they were found to be working in collusion with each other in order to facilitate the movement of suspected contraband into the various correctional facilities.
Afghanistan’s cricketers have long been heralded as a beacon of hope for a nation torn apart by conflict but they have earned the right to be taken more seriously than a mere human interest story at their second World Cup.Having won last year’s World Cup Qualifier tournament by beating West Indies in the final, the Afghans will arrive in England looking to make the transition from plucky underdogs to knockout round contenders.It will be a tough task, not least because they have very little experience of the conditions in the host nation, but there is no doubt there is plenty of talent in their squad.Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi are a spin-bowling unit the equal of any in the world and the latter is a genuine all-rounder with the second most runs for an Afghan in one-dayers.Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Shahzad and Asghar Afghan are their batting mainstays but in Hazratullah Zazai and Hashmatullah Shahidi they have promising young talents who might provide some fireworks.Whether that talent, under new leadership since last month, can cohere into a unit capable of taking on the more established nations in the game and reach their goal of a semi-final spot remains to be seen.Their first fixture against defending champions Australia in Bristol on June 1 should be a reasonable gauge of the progress they have made over the last four years.MAIDEN WINIn 2015, their World Cup debut, Afghanistan gave Sri Lanka a shock by dismissing both openers for a golden duck and recorded their maiden win against Scotland before being brought down to earth with a big bump by co-hosts Australia.advertisementDavid Warner scored 178 at the WACA as the Aussies racked up the biggest total in tournament history, 417 for six, for the biggest winning margin in World Cup history, 275 runs.That pretty much sealed Afghanistan’s exit but they have since beaten Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, played out a thrilling tie with a weakened India team and last year became the 12th test playing nation.Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons will guide them through this year’s tournament, having coached Ireland to wins over Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, West Indies and Zimbabwe at three World Cups.The Trinidadian is no stranger to board interference, having also previously coached Zimbabwe and West Indies in troubled times, but he is unlikely to have welcomed the surprise captaincy change effected last month.Gulbadin Naib replaced Asghar Afghan as skipper in a move that initially caused some public consternation from senior players.”I just have to get on with (making) sure the squad is preparing in the same way I wanted them to prepare barring the change,” Simmons told the Cricinfo website.”I am trying to make sure the captaincy change does not have an impact on our World Cup preparation.”