Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has been responding to a report in the Telegraph that this country is working with the British to secure the transfer here of forty ‘high risk’ prisoners from the hurricane-hit British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The prisoners escaped and are on the loose.
The Telegraph report Tuesday featured a photo which the publication said was of cabinet notes that had been accidentally leaked to the press.
Prime Minister Chastanet on Monday told members of the local media that Saint Lucia was working with the UK to facilitate the transfer of three prisoners from another hurricane-hit British overseas territory – the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
Asked Tuesday about the Telegraph report about Saint Lucia working with the UK for the transfer here of forty BVI prisoners, Chastanet’s response was: “Well, I have not heard that.”
He told reporters that the request that was made to Saint Lucia related to the transfer of three TCI prisoners.
“As I indicated, when we made an audit we had the capacity to add fifty on a temporary basis so all the request that has been made to us at this point is for three,” Chastanet stated.
Although criticised by some for agreeing to the transfer of the three prisoners, the Prime Minister expressed the view that the ‘vast majority’ of Saint Lucians would support him from a humanitarian standpoint.
He observed that there are Saint Lucians who live in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Would you want criminals to be running around putting the lives of other Saint Lucians in danger? Not only that, when I look at what the British government has done for Saint Lucia in our history and most recently, that is the humanitarian thing to be able to do,” Chastanet explained.
He said Saint Lucians are not being put at risk.
Chastanet said he was very comfortable that Saint Lucia’s security system is very good.
He disclosed that Saint Lucia has been working closely with British authorities to determine who the TCI criminals are and obtain information on their background, to ensure that the appropriate security arrangements are put in place.