The Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) where the 21 high risk BVI prisoners are being temporarily housed promptly responded to BVI media reports about the complaints the local prisoners made about the conditions at the penitentiary.
As a result of the damages to the Territory’s only correctional facility a decision was made to transfer the 21 persons convicted of serious offences such as murder, attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearm to St. Lucia.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn who has responsibility for prisons recently visited St Lucia and after he returned he reported on his trip. In the articles that were circulated both here in the Territory and the region, the Minister mentioned that the prisoners complained about water shortage at times in their cells and also aired concerns about medical issues.
It is this report that prompted a response from BCF. In an article published by the St Lucia Times on 2 November, the Penitentiary’s Public Relations Officer, Kerwin Albert suggested that the Minister’s visit was a result of complaints prisoners made to relatives in the BVI. He however, pointed that Minister Walwyn indicated following a tour and meeting that he was impressed.
“He indicated to us that he was quite impressed with our standards, especially our human rights standards,” Albert was quoted saying. The PRO further explained that the prisoners were merely home sick: “Basically, everything is okay – it was a bit difficult for them to settle in because of the fact that they were not getting their normal visits,” he said also pointing out that the prisoners are now ‘settling in quite well and adjusting.’
Meanwhile, Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that a prison recovery plan was submitted to the National Security Council to rehabilitate the Territory’s prison system.