Prison inmates ferried to Belle Isle facility
Front Page
April 24, 2012
Prison inmates ferried to Belle Isle facility

Security officials here say that the move of more than 200 inmates from Her Majesty’s Prisons in Kingstown, to their new home last weekend, went off without a hitch.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT’s cameras captured the buses leaving the Kingstown prison early on Saturday, April 22, under heavy security and rainfall.

Four civilian buses transported the men to the Belle Isle Correctional Facility, as the inmates embarked on a road trip like none other.

Each bus made two trips to the minimum security prison, located on the island’s leeward side, with the first leaving as early as 6:45 a.m.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey informed SEARCHLIGHT that the move began on Friday, April 20, with the first 32 inmates being relocated.

On Saturday, 226 more men were taken to the prison, which was built to facilitate 288 inmates, at a cost of EC $18.7 million.

“…And by the end of the week (ending April 27) the population will be over 240…. But we have to keep some of the prisoners in Kingstown for other duties,” Pompey added.

He pointed out that the men, who will now call the facility home, include those who have already been sentenced.

Sentenced prisoners, who are considered as high-risk, as well as the men who are on remand, will remain in Kingstown. This amounts to approximately 163 prisoners.

High risk prisoners, Pompey pointed out, are those so deemed by the state; as well as men who have been condemned to death.

Relatives and friends turned up at Her Majesty’s Prisons on Saturday morning, only to be told that no visits would take place that day, because of the ongoing transition.

Pompey credited the fact that the move was not publicized, as one of the reasons it went smoothly. This, he said was done for security reasons.

Describing the new facility, the Permanent Secretary said that the Belle Isle site is magnificent, and is rated among the best in the region where security is concerned, and the men would be more comfortable there.

“The cells are so designed to accommodate nine persons per cell…. You can easily control each block, because everybody doesn’t have to come together to eat; they have their own eating area, so at any one point you wouldn’t have more than 32 prisoners together; so it’s a more controlled security environment.”

Pompey also added that the female wing of the facility is expected to be completed soon; and until then, the 14 female inmates, currently housed at Fort Charlotte, will remain at that historic location.