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Facility needed: Magistrate laments jailing ‘mental’ offenders

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards

Describing the situation ‘unfortunate’, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said the absence of a proper facility for mentally unstable offenders is forcing the court to send them to Her Majesty’s Prison.

Magistrate Richards, however, said she recognised that implementing such a facility may not be among the top priorities of the Smith administration, given the current state of affairs in the territory.

Notwithstanding, the senior magistrate said offenders such as David Baronville need to be committed to a facility that can treat the underlying issues that she believes cause him to be a substance abuser and repeat offender.

Baronville was before the court for a burglary that took place on February 28 this year.

“I feel sorry for people like him and others who struggle with mental health … [But], there’s a lot of fishes to fry since Irma and mental health may not be one of the urgent fish,” she said.

“It is [just] unfortunate that government has not provided a place for mental health patients,” she added.

The magistrate, however, advised Baronville’s family to be more aggressive to get him the help he desperately needs.

“You have the power in your hands, speak to your [elected] representatives,” she told them.

In what can be described as an impassioned request on Wednesday, Baronville’s sister and mother advocated for the court to release the offender, especially since he was celebrating a birthday.

Moved as she might have been, Magistrate Richards said she has “no choice at this moment” but to have Barronville placed on remand at the adult penitentiary in Balsam Ghut.

Shortly after, the mother and sister were observed weeping as Baronville was escorted back to the holding cell area of the court.

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12 Comments

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  1. Buterfly says:

    An absolute disgrace. No mental facility, no substance abuse facility? Disgraceful.

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    • DingLing says:

      What is disgraceful is that we are a selfish bunch of people with a lot of talk but when it comes time to pay the piper, the whining starts! Everyone is blaming Government and want this and that, but who will pay for it? These things require serious levels of funding! Look at how we behaved with NHI which has saved so many lives and opened the doors for so many people to have healthcare access? Without NHI the hospital, clinics and private health facilities would be out of business or near there by now and we would be a ‘sick’ Territory. It’s good to always want, but when will we agree to pay more in taxes (of course with mechanisms in place to keep Government accountable), but we cannot continue to talk about what’s shame, what’s sad and blah. We need to understand that nothing is free or cheap and be willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the Territory. There are places that we try to compare the BVI standard of living and facilities to, but these are places where working folk pay 40% and upwards in taxes to support these initiatives. Are we willing to pay or just talk?

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  2. TurtleDove says:

    We are too busy expanding an airport that can wait. I could be wrong but I believe all the floors in the hospital are not being utilized?

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  3. Tony Blair says:

    But we can find money to throw at non-existent airlines, excessive spending on Elmore Stoutt wall, hundreds of thousands on festival….the list goes on and on and on! BVI people wake up & see that the political class don’t give a rats behind about he safety and health of its residents! From burning trash on the western end to Sewerage running in the streets. Priorities are all effed up in this place and it’s getting worst every dog gone day here. A revolution is what is needed but alas the composition of the territory will not support ridding government of self-serving egotistical megalomaniacs!

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  4. Myrna Fonseca Florida says:

    When I worked at Peebes Hospital years ago we had a mental female in a private room inthe old Peebles Hospital the door was kept locked and she was monitored daily Why some thing like that can’t be provided for in our new hospital , even for one months observation. Also our mental patients were sent to Antigua for mental care. That is far better than sending your love one to jail because he/ she might have a mental problem. Do they receive care when they are there or are they treated like other prisoners? Somebody in authority please check into it , that is not good for theBVI.

    Myrna fonseca

  5. Grench says:

    Metal people cannot vote thats why the Gov would not think about them.

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  6. Tola says:

    Doc these is the kinda a things he need to bring to the table you come telling us about airport project. ……am not saying we don’t need the run way Yes but we don’t need that right now doc too much important things need to be done in this country we hardly can get our foot off the ground from this massive cat 5 hurricane last yrs come on man do better for once think about the people’s off the virgin islands who put ayo there

  7. 2 cents says:

    This place have alot of mental cases not only on the streets but living and working among us on medications. It’s time for the relavant aurhorities to see and make provisions for a mental hospital. The unit they are currently on can be better utilized.

  8. Rep says:

    These government ministers are only interested in themselves and their families and friends. Note what one said in the house while talking about their so call recovery and development program, he wants to be jet down from Miami to Beef Island. If they were not looking for their own interest, they would concentrate on recovery rather than injecting what they want in the bill. What they are doing is trying to obtain an election win at the people,s expense.

  9. E.Leonard says:

    Undoubtedly, there is an investment gap in quality of life services, including mental health services. This mental health investment gap needs to be narrowed or eliminated. Mental health care, services and facilities must be a top investment priority. Moreover, seriously addressing mental health issues are in the best of interest of mental patients, families, friends, co-workers, communities and the territory. It demonstrates the care, heart and compassion of the territory, the nation. An advancing and progressive territory is more than building the economy, physical infrastructure………etc; the personal needs of residents also needs focus and attention.

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  10. Local abroad says:

    Thats the dash of o—- he grandmother dash when we were fighting chicken in the yard it catch him who was there know. E— trip up them who do

  11. Shark says:

    You know what pisses me off,when come Election Day the same mental patient they would have dressed up going to the pole to vote.

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