The bodies of eight prisoners have been exhumed from the compound of the former jail in Castries, it has been announced.
The remains were of of former inmates who had been sentenced to death and hung.
They were identified as Joseph Vitalis Solomon, Evans Samuel, Nicholas Dolor, Gabriel Burke, Guy Biscette, Anthony Charles, Jn. Baptiste Faucher, and Stephen Jeremie.
The exhumation took place on Saturday, February 15, 2020, signalling what was described as the final step in the process of relocating to the Bordelais Correctional Facility which had occurred when all inmates were moved in early 2003.
The undertaking was witnessed by officials from the Attorney General’s office, Castries Constituency Council, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Infrastructure, Police, and Bordelais Correctional Facility. Officiating at the exhumation and interment was Catholic Priest, Ignatius Cetout.
The location of the old HMS Prisons in Castries has been the subject of a pitched battle between the St. Lucia National Trust and the Government of St. Lucia since the attempted demolition in September 2018.
With the eventual demolition of the jail on Saturday, the Trust accused the government of reneging on what the organisation considered to be a legally binding agreement.
The SLNT said the former jail was a building of immense historic value.
Director of the Trust, Bishnu Tulsie, declared that the government cannot be trusted and warned that the development had set a dangerous precedent.
Members of the Trust gathered outside parliament Tuesday to make their ‘presence felt’ over the issue, declaring that a police presence and barricades that were erected near the house were evidence of attempts to silence dissent.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet however defended the demolition of the former Her Majesty’s Prison.
““If I remember the written agreement very well, the last part of the agreement says that the government reserves the right to be able to act unilaterally,” Chastanet told reporters.
Supporters of the jail demolition have contended that the derelict and abandoned premises had become a haven for drug addicts and criminal elements.
They also note that Multiple fires have also been reported near the location and it was reported to have been infested by rats and bats.