Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte has responded to concerns over Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) inmate nutrition, raised recently by Human Rights Advocate Mary Francis.
Francis told St Lucia Times she intended to write the Minister after receiving complaints from inmates about a rice and chow mein diet in the past few weeks.
On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte told reporters that BCF inmates have always complained about the food.
“The staples they eat because of the menu they normally complain about the same type of food on a regular basis,” Albert-Poyotte disclosed.
“However it is also known that the budgetary allocation for Bordelais can hardly meet the food allocation for the inmates. So we know that the last budget did not cater for enough money to feed all the inmates that were there. However we are trying to address that in this new budget allocation,” the Minister explained.
Nevertheless, she said the inmates who do their own catering get three meals a day.
“However because of the budgetary shortfall they have to take food on credit from creditors and sometimes the allocation of food may be a bit tight. However we have to get the additional resources to feed the inmates,” the Babonneau MP told reporters.
She recalled that a garden subsidised the food for the prisoners in the past.
But the Minister said it had not continued to the extent required.
“So it is one where we are going to reactivate – engaging the prisoners in meaningful exercises and not just sitting in prison. We have a lot of strong young men who can work and therefore they can engage in activities to support their own food and supplies which is healthier than some of the foods they buy – the processed food,” Albert-Poyotte asserted.