Myron Walwyn, the minister who jointly holds responsibility for local prison with the governor, has refuted claims that he visited St Lucia several months ago to recruit Verne Garde as the new Superintendent of Prison for the BVI.
Whispers of Walwyn’s alleged ‘recruitment mission’ began circulating around the time Garde – the former director of St Lucia’s adult penitentiary – was announced as the new Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut, Tortola.
But while speaking on radio Monday evening, Walwyn made it clear that he only visited St Lucia to check on the 21 BVI inmates who had been temporarily transferred to St Lucia’s penitentiary after Hurricane Irma compromised the BVI’s prison facility.
Walwyn described his visit to the country as his ‘obligation’ as the minister responsible for prison.
“We had to ensure that those obligations were properly carried out notwithstanding the fact they (BVI inmates) were in another jurisdiction,” Walwyn said.
He further said the process of hiring a new prison boss for the BVI was done completely independent of him.
“The hiring of a St Lucian as the head of our prison — that was done by a clear and transparent process … A panel was put in place, it went through the Public Service Commission, and the governor signed off on it,” Walwyn said.
He added: “As a matter of courtesy, he (the governor) asked me and he said to me ‘this was the person who was selected’ and if I had any objections. I couldn’t possibly have any objections because, of course, it went through a particular process.”
When BVI News contacted Superintendent Garde Tuesday morning, he also corroborated Walwyn’s assertion. Garde said he and the minister did not have any discussions about his now employment as BVI’s prison boss.
Garde was hired on a two-year contract which officially began on July 2.
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