Superintendent of Prisons David Foote has indicated that there was a major operation earlier today at Her Majesty’s Prison involving his officers as well as members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Earlier, reports surfaced that police were called into the Balsam Ghut facility because some inmates had become rowdy, prompting a lock-down.
Further information was that cellphones and other prohibited items were recovered.
Superintendent Foote denied that there was a disturbance at the prison, but he confirmed that certain items were found during a search operation.
“We have recovered a number of items from the prison as we do in all searches; that’s the point of doing them. Until the Ministry [of Education and Culture] and the governor have my full report, I am not going to comment on what was found at this point in time,” he told BVI News Online.
Superintendent Foote continued: “There has been a joint operation between the prison services and the police, and we have been conducting a number of searches as is our entitlement. It’s just one of those things that we have to do every now and then.”
He further stated that fences at the correctional facility were checked this morning. “We don’t have a hole in the fence. The fence and the perimeter were checked this morning, and I can tell you that it is 100 percent secure.”
Superintendent Foote stated that the prison is back to normal operation following the search. “We are back to operating regime this afternoon so that the prisoners can get about their daily business as usual,” he told BVI News Online.
Asked about the general atmosphere at the territory’s only prison these days, Superintendent Foote commented: “It’s quite calm.”
Reminded about a disturbance at the facility that police helped to quell in February, the prison boss downplayed: “I think that there was an incident in February and that was just dealing with two specific prisoners. It wasn’t anything more serious than that. It’s about having the right equipment. Sometimes we rely on the police to provide some of that equipment, which is why they come and give us support. We have a very good mutual relationship on that basis.”
Superintendent Foot was then asked if he has enough resources to properly man the prison where – according to his recent admission – there have been fights and gang-related activities.
“I have been well resourced this year, and we have additional monies for additional equipment, and we are in the process of purchasing a lot of those items and things. So I have no issue around the funding that comes from the British Virgin Islands government,” Superintendent Foote further told BVI News Online.