BVI News

Premier embarrassed, insists security beefed up at Castle Maria

Hotel Castle Maria

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said he was embarrassed about the fact that immigration detainees continued to escape from the Castle Maria Hotel, despite claims that security measures had been increased.

The hotel has been used as a temporary immigration detention facility for years, but has seen repeated escapes by detainees over that time, with the most recent occurrence happening after the Premier claimed that security had been fortified to prevent this from happening. 

Three detainees reportedly escaped earlier this month after a group of seven persons that had been found at Great Thatch had been placed at the hotel mere days before the escape.

But immediately prior that escape, Premier Wheatley told reporters at a press conference that security had been beefed up after a female escaped the facility and was subsequently recaptured with the assistance of a member of the public.

“I do feel embarrassed by the situation there and I am disappointed, I would say, that we’ve had continued persons escape,” Dr Wheatley told reporters at a press conference last week.

According to the Premier, there is no excuse for the escapes that continue to happen in the wake of steps taken recently to increase security at the facility.

“We’re going to be building a detention centre and of course, we’re going to as well employ our own government personnel to be able to secure the premises when the detainees are are there,” the Premier added.

But even as he offered that response, Premier Wheatley was asked about what steps had actually been taken by his government to increase security at the facility before the most recent escape.

“We did increase the security there, we did beef up the security there. And despite that, we’ve had some challenges still,” the Premier said. 

He added: “So I wouldn’t say too many more details about it, because of course it could be a legal situation but I won’t say too much more about that. But we did take some steps to beef up the security and despite those steps we [saw] the situation took place, which I’m not happy about, I’m not pleased with at all. So additional steps will be taken.”


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  1. No Man! says:

    The owners of the Hotel should know that this regular customer will no longer stay at their hotel since they allowed it to be used as an ineffective makeshift jail. That’s just trashy man. Is L&N still open? The B.V.I is declining fast. Sad!

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  2. Dede says:

    Dear Hon. Premier:

    You ought to be ashamed. This has been happening to often. I’m beginning to think some kind of collaboration going on between the smugglers, the guards and someone else. I find it impossible that a proper solution hasn’t been made as yet. It clear that neither immigration, customs, police or the hotel cares about this. They still getting paid. Stop paying and you will see a whole different ball game.

    Also, if my memory serves me, I thought one of the buildings at the prison was designated as a Detention Area. This was so we would cut down on expenses and this foolishness that been happening to stop. If, I’m wrong someone please correct me.

    Like 27
  3. Smh says:

    I didn’t know he had a shame box. If it’s working he should be ashamed to even show his face. This is the worse leadership I have ever seen in my entire life.

    Like 17
    Dislike 2
  4. Jim says:

    Embarrassing on many levels.

    One that we have to use a hotel as a detention center. And that the government is paying that hotel owner enormous amounts of money to do so. More government corruption and waste.

    And two, we cannot effectively process and hold migrant workers. Yes, they are workers. Not illegals. They are willing to uproot their lives in search of a better life and they will work themselves to the bone to make that happen. Can we say that about our belonger brethren?

    Like 14
    Dislike 4
  5. I hear yuh says:

    If I was looking for a place to stay or I was bringing people in to the country I would not want to stay at a place used as a jail cell with questionable peotple and a questionable reputation. I don’t see hiw this could be good for their business.

    Like 14
  6. OZ says:

    Since nobody really visits the old prison which was turned into a museum, why not fix it up and use it to house the illegal immigtants???

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  7. Vg boy says:

    Stop put them there jail got space

  8. Lodger says:

    They should be held at, say, the police station, and put on the earliest plane out. Would cost a lot less, but then someones pockets would not be so well filled.

    Like 17
  9. Just asking says:

    A detention center built at the prison for that purpose

  10. IslandSon says:

    put them on Round Rock…….:)

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  11. .... says:

    we putting underpaid guards from other countries to watch detainees some who may be from their own country what the H**L do we expect to happen…

    Like 16
  12. BVI Future says:

    Does anyone know what is the contractual payment or agreement to use this hotel as a detention center? What if the hotel’s owner is making more money to use the hotel as a detention center?

  13. Typical says:

    Usual BVI bulls**t! From the time the first person escaped, a new proper security firm should have been engaged. Further, that place should have only been a temporary location. The Government needs to think long and hard about how they want to deal with the situation of illegal immigrants because it will NEVER STOP! Perhaps we need to get funding and processes in place to get them out of the Territory as soon as possible, lessening the load on us to house/feed them. There is no excuse why they continue to escape etc., it’s a massive security risk to all of us and to me it seems like it’s just taken lightly and as a joke. People illegally entering, nothing to lose, nobody know who they are and they are roaming our streets. WTF?

    Like 12
  14. What!!!!! says:

    Easy answer the present security company is ineffective and useless so fire them and try a different one.

    Like 10
  15. Thank you so kindly says:

    @ No man, I will no longer have my friends from the US patronize this hotel when they are in the BVI. No one is not willing to pay for and share a hotel/detention center with anyone that was caught entering the territory illegally. Who does that? That hotel is getting a very bad name. They are going to lose all of their good clients one by one of this continues.

  16. Truth says:

    @ what. you was there and people escape, All I see is dog eat dog u all fighting against each other. What the problem is Immigration need a proper facility. that hotel is no place for no confinement…..

  17. On the outside looking in says:

    This is far beyond a bad joke or perhaps the ones that is making these stupid moves is going through some serious mental issues or lack of basic common sense. Third World Territory at its best. Who put illegals in a hotel with guests? Who’s bright idea was that? And to you the hotel owner, I would never consider staying at your hotel when I am on Island, no, no, no, absolutely not. Obviously you don’t care about your guests SAFETY. HOW LOW CLASS AND GREEDY OF YOU FOR A EXTRA DOLLAR. THE HOTEL REPUTATION JUST SUNK TO A VERY LOW LEVEL OR SHOULD I SAY SOON TO BE KNOWN AS A MOTEL 6 DIVE.

  18. listen says:

    this hotel on a whole needs to be shut down.

    The rooms which the person are being held are not for humans not even a cat or dog.

  19. @Jim says:

    Sorry to say friend, the country already dont want the expats that been here for decades and contributed to the progress and development of the country (however little progress that maybe). Do you really think it would even be considered to give these folks a chance at life??? Im afraid the answer is written in stone….a resounding “NO”

  20. BuzzBvi says:

    If BVI people didn’t smuggle so much drugs and have guns and ammo and also get caught there would be lots of room to put these people in the prison.

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  21. Question says:

    If entering the country illegally is a crime that makes these people criminals right? What is so special about this type of criminal why they cant be detained in JAIL where we put every other type of criminal?

  22. Why is it taking so long.. says:

    Immigration needed shaking up and shifting around long, it’s now waay over due, so, not surprise. The system is broken badly. Only Britain can fix it.

  23. Welllll says:

    @BVI FUTURE, the hotel is making money off the deal, of course the owner of the hotel is getting paid from the taxpayers purse to housed the illegals. All I know is I am not paying for any hotel room knowing I have to stay in a hotel that is also used for a detention center. Detain them at the different police stations in the BVI and ship them out within 24-72 hours.

  24. Look jokes says:

    MR RACKING UP FREQUENT FLIER MILES SAID HE WAS EMBRACED. Security is not the problem, you know exactly what the problem is dude. You the Premier, you know and is aware of what the real problem is. SOMEONE(S) ON THE INSIDE IS GETTING THEIR POCKETS LINED. YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD. STOP BEING A WHIMP ABOUT YOU’RE EMBARRASSED, YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD.

  25. @Jim says:

    I don’t understand what you saying we should embrace illegal immigrants because they looking work? How is that sense? Is like to hell with border protection and our immigration laws because they looking work is what you saying?

  26. Here is my take says:

    Balsam Ghut has enough room to build a detention center for persons entering the territory illegally.

    While at it build another center for the Prison with space to house academic classrooms, meeting rooms for meetings with family or legal counsel, workshops rooms (for training in electrical, engine repair, airconditioning, plumbing, computers, carpentry, tiling, masonry, construction, farming); and conference rooms. Way to go Premier!

  27. classic says:

    Typical BVI third world backwardness. Who detains criminals in a hotel and put underpaid, untrained security guards to watch them not even officers. The BVI is not a real place.

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