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Prison-break kept quiet because of telecoms issue

This telecommunications pole was among the infrastructure that was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Residents in the British Virgin Islands are being told that it was impossible for government to inform them of the massive prison break following Hurricane Irma because communications were down.

The rationale came directly from the man at the helm of government, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

“The radio station was not up and there was no other means of communication,” Smith said during yesterday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

“I believe that the total loss of the communication infrastructure on the island prevented this information from being disseminated… It was only when ZBVI [radio] got up and running that the police here could inform the general public that the prisoners had [escaped],” the Premier further claimed.

Civilians in the British Virgin Islands were kept in the dark about the prison-break for days; until unofficial reports began to circulate among residents and local online and international media.

A total of 143 inmates escaped Her Majesty’s Prison when Hurricane Irma damaged sections of the facility. A number of high-risk prisoners such as those incarcerated for murder were among the escapees.

Authorities have not indicated whether an official report will be released on the so-called prison break.

Questions have been put to government on whether prison officers abandoned their posts when inmates were leaving the Balsam Ghut-based penitentiary. However, answers have not been forthcoming.

Representative for the Third Electoral District Julian Fraser yesterday chastised Premier Smith for laughing while being pressed for answers.

“It’s become a laughing matter now because 65 days after the hurricane the Premier hasn’t done an assessment to find out what took place. Did the security guard leave the compound? Did something happen? Where was the police? How did they get out in the first place? That is what I want to know. Yes, the fence probably blew down but what happened to the people?”

Fraser was then told he had exceeded his follow-up questions in relation to his initial query as to why the public was not informed about the prison-break.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

16 Comments

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  1. peewee says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

    what about DDM updates? Or Facebook?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

    It was kept a secret because they were let out. They didn’t break out. They need to let the public no the truth.

    • Willie says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • ? says:

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        They were let out and the prisoners said it and prisoner officers said but they want it to look like a prison break and another thing the officers told the prisoners to return before 6pm.

    • Curious says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      You know!

  3. Anegada says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

    No excuse… period.

    Get a loud speaker drive through town and announce what ever you had to say..

    Come on… for real.

  4. watcher says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    In may places there was no communication whatsoever We need to be prepared for a similar future event. I suggest we have an emergency radio station that is hurricane proof that can be used to communicate with citizens in the event of a disaster. A powerful ham transmitter is all that is required and a frequency that everyone would know.

  5. Isle 95 says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

    Isle 95 was also up and was even asking for officials for. BVi to call in and give updates if necessary. That was an alternative form of communication for those who had battery operated radios. And just like how the fire men went out on the road with that horn to warn about Hurricane Irma they could have done the same thing to give the community updates. But like someone posted, they LET the prisoners out they didn’t escape. I watched them walking out on the road, they weren’t running and hiding. Even guards were walking out on the street shortly thereafter so this is plain out nonsense they talking just to save face!

  6. Curious says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

    Lies! From the day they were let out of the prison I knew. How? Well they came knocking on my door. Dr. Smith lies wont help you in these times. You have District Reps, why couldn’t you send them to their districts and inform on loud speakers like you did with the Police to announce curfew. This Gov is just crap and we just getting S*** on left right n center. Excuses instead of truth. We need a new Gov ASAP!

  7. Investigate for truth says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    A proper investigation is needed NOW. Fraser get on their backs again. order a full investigation for the prisoners never broke out nor escaped. they were let out daily for 7 days straight. and returned faithfully most of them. plus the main fence and gate were never breached. check it out. the fence is just as in place as before during and after hurricane. the truth MUST be told. JUSTICE for the BVI Must come. election coming up so serve the country and bring justice unvale de lies.

    Interview prison staff and inmates thoroughly

  8. I said it says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Bull”,;t, pure Bull”,;t. You people really think we came out of our mother’s behind.I know I am not hearing or believing that s%€t to the highest degree.

  9. Tell the truth please!!!!!!! says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Stop the lies and tell the truth. The prisoners were let out, they did not escape.exactly, we spot a few of them and they sure as he;; did not look like they were on the run.Someone let them out.

  10. Haha says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    I didn’t have cellular service or radio but I knew Maria was coming because the firetruck drove through SCB with a guy on loud speaker repeating the warning about what was to come.

  11. Mad News says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    Stop lying.. everybody know that they was let out

  12. Mick Mars says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Two days after the storm Prisoners were casually drinking beer outside the store and hailing Dr Smith himself as he rode in the Red Cross Jeep. Well known and violent prisoners too.

    The store in question? A gas station where MANY elected officials passed by and even some came to buy gas and dip. Heard from themselves how they got out and some were even driven home by a guard I saw personally cause they lived beyond my gap.

    Lies and excuses. DDM and Lime was firing texts like joke and the place so small it ain’t like you got to travel miles to find someone who coulda put such important news onto that platform. You guys ain’t serious at all.

  13. LOL says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    So they let them out and now they cant find some of them they want to say they escape. smh

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