(BVI PLATINUM) – The government on Monday, November 13, indicated that prisoners were transferred to St. Lucia after Hurricane Irma because the United Kingdom indicated that they could not accommodate the inmates.
Hurricane Irma destroyed the BVI’s penal facility in Balsam Ghut, causing the government to transfer some 21 prisoners to St. Lucia a few weeks after the storm.
During a question and answer session in the House of Assembly on Monday, Opposition Member, Hon. Julian Fraser asked Premier Hon. D. Orlando Smith why the prisoners were sent to St. Lucia and not the U.K.
The Premier responded, “As I understand it, the U.K. prison services were unable to assist at that particular time and St. Lucia already offered assistance both to BVI and Turks and Caicos.”
“…Is that really what happened? Why didn’t the U.K. accept them? They are our mother country,” Hon. Fraser asked.
He further asked the Premier to state whether he was told directly of the U.K’s inability to accommodate the prisoners.
The Premier answered no, stating that the matter was handled by Education Minister, Hon. Myron Walwyn, who is responsible for Her Majesty’s Prison, and the Governor, who oversees security in the Territory.
The Premier also said the government has not yet determined what it will have to pay St. Lucia for housing the prisoners.
No firm date has been set for the inmates’ return to the BVI.