Saint Lucia authorities are investigating a video that was shot at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) and posted recently on social media.
Confirmation of the probe came Friday from National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis.
“This matter is being investigated. As a matter of fact, from the time that happened and we started to investigate at least 25 (mobile) phones have been seized,” Francis told reporters.
In the video, shot at the BCF, several inmates are seen siting outside their cells. At least three are smoking while music plays in the background.
Most of them are shirtless, while others wear white vests.
The 30 second video ends with a close up pan towards an inmate who makes a gesture with two outstretched index and little finger.
“This happens all the time at Bordelais,” the National Security Minister asserted.
“It’s just that this time somebody was actually bold enough to put it out,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner declared.
He said that on a daily basis, perhaps every month, when prison officers carry out their searches they find hundreds of telephones.
Francis recalled that a ‘particular officer’ is currently on suspension for assisting some of the inmates.
He explained that phones are being sent over the prison walls and people assist in collecting the devices.
According to the minister, visitors conceal phones and hand them to inmates.
“On a daily basis we do interventions but every time we go out we do get phones but it just seems to be and unending supply,” Francis lamented.
“I wouldn’t say the officers are not doing their job – I mean you must understand these are persons who have been incarcerated for some sort of offence. These guys are seasoned. They know what time the officers are going to pass – when the officers are not in the location, and they take these opportunities to do these sort of things,” he told reporters.
However Francis expressed the hope that things will be put in place to stop the frequency of such occurrences.
But the minister expressed the view that it would be difficult.
“At Bordelais you’re not dealing with Saints,” he declared.