Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Mary Francis Welcomes Albert-Poyotte’s Crime Prevention Remarks

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Attorney at Law and outspoken Human Rights advocate, Mary Francis, says she is pleased with remarks made by Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, while on a visit last week to the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).

During the visit, Albert-Poyotte 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.

“This is the key, because those inmates and those young men who populate the Bordelais facility, they have social problems which eventually lead to criminal behaviour, so preventative measures must be taken to avoid them actually going into Bordelais,” Mary Francis, who is the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, told St Lucia Times in response to what the Home Affairs Minister said.

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Mary Francis also expressed concern over developments at the BCF after the death of two inmates, Noah Peter, 21, and 45-year-old Kelvin Wilson, also known as ‘Carlos’ or ‘Goats’.

Peter was stabbed on Wednesday by another inmate and died Saturday morning about 3:00 a.m. at St Jude Hospital while on Thursday Wilson was found unresponsive in ‘an individual cell’ at the maximum-security Delta Unit and was later pronounced dead by a medical practitioner.

Investigators said Wilson, who had been declared mentally unfit to stand trial for murder, had been at the BCF since April 15, 2003.

They said he appeared to have been stabbed with a ‘piece of fencing.’

Mary Francis told St Lucia Times she is concerned that history is repeating itself at the BCF, in that there have been ‘quite a few ‘ individuals who have been declared unfit to plead and should not be at the facility.

“If already your freedom has been taken away from you and you have a mental illness you should be at the Mental Wellness Centre and not at the Bordelais Correctional Facility and furthermore in the past I have already enquired and I was told that they couldn’t be kept at the Mental Wellness facility because they cannot ensure security for such persons,” the outspoken Attorney at Law stated.

Francis said she was informed that there’s a special cell for such individuals at the BCF.

“The question is, what was he doing in the Delta Unit among violent inmates? So that is negligence on the part of the authorities, whether it is because they don’t have the administrative structure in place to avoid such things. I think the new Minister of Home Affairs, the government – they have to look into this thing to rectify the situation because life is important,” she asserted.

According to Francis, if people are in the custody of the state the state must ensure that they are safe, free from violent attacks, and their human rights protected.

“The fact that you have committed an offence, you still remain a human being and you must be treated humanely,” she stated while calling for a thorough investigation into the violent acts at the BCF.

She expressed the view that the stabbings at the BCF are indicative of an administrative problem that has to be corrected.

“If there’s a shortage of staff, there must be an enquiry to ensure that things are rectified,” Francis said.

On Saturday, two other inmates -Shodeus Clement and Jason Polius sustained stab wounds at the BCF, were treated at a hospital and transported back to the facility.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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