(CMR) Prison inmate Oscar Lee Watler (36) passed away this morning after being admitted on January 24 to the George Town Hospital for COVID-19. Inmates had originally alerted CMR on Heroes Day that he was taken via ambulance to the hospital for treatment amid what they claim were unfair COVID-19 policies.
Watler's family shared with CMR that they had begged for him to be released from prison because he has a pre-existing medical condition. He was on dialysis since the age of 14 years old and received an implant at the age of 23.
They shared exclusively with CMR:
“Let Government and they messed up System know thank you for leaving our family member in prison and him being a high health risk person he was no harm to anyone he was a sweet loving person. Now we have to live without him as he passed away this morning.”
He was admitted to the ICU and has remained in the hospital since then. His family maintains that had he been considered for early parole given his health issues he would still be alive today.
They shared, “his mom begged them to let him come home from the first time they had a positive in the prison and they failed him because they kept him with the rest of prisoners knowing he had such risks for his health.” They went on to tell CMR that other inmates who had been convicted of far worse offenses had received early release so they are struggling to understand why Watler was not given the same consideration.
The family is also dealing with another loss after his mother lost her eldest son, Doney Elbort Wood Tatum, in December.
Watler was serving his fourth year of a 12.5-year sentence for possessing more than a pound and a half of cocaine with intent to supply. He, along with his co-accused, Stephen Wayne Hurlston, was sentenced in June 2018 after being found guilty earlier that year for the offenses. They had both denied the charges claiming that they had found the drugs in an empty parking lot in Patrick's Islands in October 2015. Both men worked at the Department of Immigration at the time of the conviction.
Watler is survived by his parents Alvina Tatum and Oscar Watler along with two sisters and one surviving brother.
Prison officially responded to the original complaints with an issued statement that they had proper protocols in place and were not aware of anyone not receiving the care and medication they needed. However, since the inmates reached out to CMR they have restricted access to our phone number and penalized those who spoke with CMR on the phone that day.