Asserting that every criminal gang in Saint Lucia is represented at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), Director of Corrections, Hilary Herman, has disclosed that the institution has limited space to keep gang members apart, but does the best it can.
“As you know, most of our inmates are not Choir boys so it is very challenging to keep them apart as they have issues from the outside and they bring those issues inside and there are also issues that are generated from inside that we have to deal with, so the gang problem is a real problem that we have to deal with on a daily basis,” Herman explained to reporters on Friday.
He spoke as an investigation continues into the death of an inmate whose body was found in a pool of blood on Thursday morning in the maximum security Delta Unit.
Investigators said that Kelvin Wilson, alias ‘Carlos’ or ‘Goats’ was apparently stabbed with a ‘piece of fencing’, but revealed that other inmates are tight lipped, typically asserting that they ‘saw nothing’.
Emergency responders reported that Wilson sustained ‘a puncture wound to his abdominal region’ and was pronounced dead on the scene by a medical practitioner.
The deceased had been in custody since April 15, 2003 on a charge of murder and was on the list of individuals deemed mentally unfit for trial.
In addition to the challenge of keeping gang members in check, Director of Corrections, Hilary Herman pointed out that the BCF is almost 20 years old and the infrastructure is ‘crumbling.’
He said the institution is aware that resources are limited, but has highlighted its needs to Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte.
Albert-Poyotte, who is also responsible for the Public Service, Labour and Gender Affairs, toured the BCF on Friday, a visit which she indicated had been arranged prior to the death this week of the prison inmate.
She gave the assurance that the government of Saint Lucia will do all within its power to ensure that the BCF and its staff get the necessary support to function and achieve their goals.
At the same time, the Minister spoke of the need to implement preventative measures to reduce the flow of offenders into the BCF and keep them on the ‘right side of the law, while ensuring that the human rights of incarcerated individuals are protected.
The BCF currently has 486 inmates in custody.
Headline photo: Stock image – BCF inmates