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UK couldn’t take our prisoners, says Premier

Members of the UK armed forces on Tortola recently.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said the United Kingdom (UK) could not help when the British Virgin Islands was in search of a facility to temporarily hold 21 of its prison inmates.

The inmates needed to be relocated because Hurricane Irma damaged parts of Her Majesty’s Prison on Tortola.

The 21 prisoners – who were remanded for a range of serious offences including murder, attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearm – were eventually welcomed by the St Lucian government.

Opposition member Julian Fraser yesterday questioned Premier Smith on why the inmates were transferred to a prison in St Lucia and not at a facility in the BVI’s parent nation, UK.

The Premier responded:  “As I understand it, the UK prison services were unable to assist at that particular time and St Lucia readily offered its assistance both to the BVI and Turks & Caicos.”

Dr Smith, who heads local government, further stated that he does not have intimate knowledge of the prison transfer because he does not have responsibility for the BVI prison.

Turks and Caicos, in the meantime, is another British Overseas Territory that had trouble securing all its prisoners after being struck by Hurricane Irma.

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