Belle Isle prison construction starts
July 16, 2004
Belle Isle prison construction starts

Completion of a $21.9 million modern correctional facility at Belle Isle is expected in three years. However, the first phase is slated to be ready in a year and a half. The actual works began after protests by farmers, residents and opposition supporters.
The first phase of construction, estimated at EC$11.7m, began Wednesday, one day after a ground-breaking ceremony at the site, about 14 miles north west of capital city Kingstown. {{more}}
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, delivering the feature address, said that facilities for juveniles will be included so as to prevent them coming in direct contact with seasoned criminals. He added that, as an experienced lawyer, he knew of the situation where seasoned criminals initiated juvenile offenders.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Finance also said that government paid over $300,000 as compensation to farmers so as to facilitate the construction of the prison.
Tuesday afternoon’s ceremony also heard addresses by Minister of National Security, Sir Vincent Beache; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, constituency representative, Louis Straker; Minister of Telecommunications, Jerrol Thompson; Superintendent of Prisons, Eric Rodriguez and architect, Aurin Bennett.
The ceremony also saw cultural presentations by prison inmates. Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, Linus Goodluck, did the Vote of Thanks.
The prison facility will include an Administrative building, a minimum-security housing block for 256 inmates, a medium security housing block to hold 48 inmates and a maximum-security housing block for 48 inmates. There will also be buildings for medical/isolation, education/craft and trade.
The Belle Isle Correctional Facility is to be constructed by a joint venture involving Aurin Bennett and Gibson’s Construction Ltd. The project supervisor is former Superintendent of Prisons, Bernard Marksman who is now employed at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.