The National Security Minister, Senator Hermangild Francis has sought to downplay reports that the prisoners brought to St Lucia from the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean islands are high risk.
“People are saying high risk. I have not seen anything indicating that they are high risk. All I’ve been told is that they’re prisoners that needs shelter. So we have accepted to house as many as we could,” Francis asserted.
Seven prisoners from the British Virgin Islands arrived in St Lucia Tuesday along with three others from the Turks and Caicos Islands, bringing to 17 the total number of criminals currently being jailed on the island from the British Overseas Territories, the National Security Minister confirmed.
The first group of seven prisoners arrived at the Hewanorra International Airport onboard a British military aircraft on Monday.
It’s unclear what crimes the prisoners were convicted of in their countries or how long will they be kept in St Lucia.
Francis could not confirm whether that would be the final batch.
He said St Lucia is willing to accommodate up to 40 prisoners given that the current low occupancy level at Bordelais Correctional Facility.
The National Security Minister said Tuesday’s transfer of prisoners was carried out “better” than the day before.
The men are being housed in a segregated unit of the Bordelais Correctional Facility, away from local prisoners, Francis said.
The Minister said he plans to visit the prison on Friday.