Minister with responsibility for prison Myron Walwyn, said he has raised human rights concerns with the St Lucian government about the 21 inmates that were transferred from Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut to St Lucia.
“Even though they are in St Lucia, they are still prisoners who are serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure and so those things are in our constitution and we need to make sure that those things are taken care of.”
The minister said he raised the concerns during a recent visit to the St Lucia penitentiary, where BVI prisoners complained about issues with food, healthcare, among other things.
“The concerns range from normal things that would happen. Sometimes the availability of water as you would like. There were some medical issues that came up,” Walwyn explained.
The minister, however, said he was satisfied that the rights of BVI inmates were not violated.
Walwyn also said he was confident that the issues raised by BVI prisoners would be addressed.
“Those are common issues that they would have normally had even at the prison here [in the BVI],” Walwyn added.
In the meantime, there have been reports that BVI inmates at the St Lucia penitentiary have been misbehaving.
Walwyn said those reports are not accurate.
“I wouldn’t say that they are misbehaving. They are acting like human beings who are out of touch with their family members.”
“Even though they are still in prison, the BVI is still their home. They have family here. Many of them are concerned about their family members. The contact that they would have normally had when they were at Balsam Ghut obviously is different now. They used to receive visits, and other things, and so on. So, I understand that they would be a bit unsettled now,” Walwyn explained.
While stating that the BVI does not intend to ‘impose’ on St Lucia for long, Walwyn said the prisoners will be transferred back to BVI once repairs at Her Majesty’s Prison are completed.
“We are trying to get the prison back in order as quickly as possible. Just before the hurricane, we had some contracts signed to have the roof repaired there. We are going to reactivate those in a little while. It should have happened this week. Perhaps it may happen next week and we’ll try our best to have those situations sorted out.”
Twenty-one BVI inmates were transferred to the Bordelais Correctional Facility in St Lucia after Hurricane Irma damaged sections of Her Majesty’s prison in September.
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