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Concerns raised about 'deteriorating conditions' at HMP

- Minister Walwyn admits to problems
Concerned citizens and relatives of inmates are calling on the government of the day to address conditions they term as serious at Her Majesty's Prison at Balsum Ghut as they have expressed the fear that things are getting from 'bad to worse'. Photo: VINO/File
Sources close to inmates have contacted this news site expressing their concerns about the closure of the commissary, the alleged deterioration of farming and other programmes and the issue of overcrowding at Her Majesty's Prison at Balsum Ghut. Photo: VINO/File
Sources close to inmates have contacted this news site expressing their concerns about the closure of the commissary, the alleged deterioration of farming and other programmes and the issue of overcrowding at Her Majesty's Prison at Balsum Ghut. Photo: VINO/File
During his address to prison officers at a recent commendation ceremony, Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron V. Walwyn acknowledged there is an issue of space that exists at Her Majesty’s Prison. Photo
During his address to prison officers at a recent commendation ceremony, Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron V. Walwyn acknowledged there is an issue of space that exists at Her Majesty’s Prison. Photo" VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Concerned citizens and relatives of inmates are calling on the government of the day to address conditions they term as serious at Her Majesty's Prison at Balsum Ghut as they have expressed the fear that things are getting from “bad to worse”.

Sources close to inmates have contacted this news site expressing their concerns about the closure of the commissary, the alleged deterioration of farming and other programmes and the issue of overcrowding.

They also expressed the view that the recent awards bestowed on a number of prison officers by the Governor, His Excellence William B. McCleary and the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn, were done to shade the issues at the prison.

Attempts to secure comments from Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Mr Charles L. Forbes, on the concerns raised proved futile.

Several sources within the HM Prison were contacted and while they said that there are issues indeed, they said the issues were nothing new and in some cases, steps were being taken to have them addressed.

"What's happening there (HMP) is nothing new. The commissary has been closed for many years now, how it’s suddenly a issue now?" asked a senior officer who requested not to be named as he is not authorised to speak publicly on behalf of Her Majesty’s Prison.

On the issue of the prison farm, the source said the programme is still ongoing, "but like farming, we getting the usual challenges with the weather, pests and the rest of it. Sometimes it blooms other times not so much," he added.

Another said that it’s no secret that the financial crisis of the Territory is having an effect on the up-keeps of HMP. "The ministry always cutting our budget, that's nothing new. It is always getting a big axe."

During his address to prison officers at a recent commendation ceremony, Hon Walwyn did acknowledge that there is an issue of space that exists at Her Majesty’s Prison.

"We know there are space issues there. I know the work environment is not the best but I want you to know that there is work being done by the Ministry of Education and Culture and by the Governor's Office to improve the situation at Her Majesty's Prison," Hon. Walwyn had said.

He had also stated that there were no quick fixes at HMP and that the changes would not take place overnight because they were addressing problems that took years and have been developing for years.

The Minister claimed that his Ministry has been working at putting a new ordinance for the prison in place and have been moving apace with the strategic plans. He noted too that efforts are also being made to improve the pace of the rehabilitation programme of the prison.

According to the Minister, "We know that our systems are not perfect but we are all actively working towards improving law enforcement and our prison system."

He said that since taking office they have been taking active steps to reform aspects of the prison to ensure the safety of officers and to also ensure real reformation takes place during incarceration, which he said will help to reduce the population at HMP in the long run.

Leader of the Opposition and a stalwart of politics in the Virgin Islands, Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal, OBE, had also acknowledged hearing in the media that Hon Walwyn had been making strides at improving conditions at the prison.

Despite these attempts at justification, relatives of inmates are of the view that more emphasis need to be placed on the issues they raised.

"You can't punish a man twice or thrice or more cause at the prisons right now is punishment upon punishment and that's not a good sign. Tempers can flare and things can get out of hand," said a concerned relative of an inmate. 

18 Responses to “Concerns raised about 'deteriorating conditions' at HMP”

  • vex (24/06/2013, 08:52) Like (23) Dislike (3) Reply
    Myron has failed again
    • @ vex (24/06/2013, 09:44) Like (2) Dislike (23) Reply
      The last time I checked he said he has done everything and the VIP and fahie did nothing..but the truth will come to light.
  • rattie (24/06/2013, 09:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    there is more in the mota at HMP
    • my two cents (24/06/2013, 10:01) Like (34) Dislike (0) Reply
      If the NDP are serious they should be on the streets every day demonstrating against corruption, rape, theft, murder, bad driving, vulgarity, incompetence, bad parenting, potholes, poor healthcare, poor judicial system etc. Oh dear, let me stop now as problems are too many to mention.
  • zoe (24/06/2013, 09:40) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every anti siocial behavour must be address!
  • Hmm (24/06/2013, 09:42) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply

    The police ALLEGEDLY sending innocent people up there to suffer and protecting guilty ones on the street... Then they say that the inmates living the 'life'. You are BREEDING criminals. The life they are forced to live at hmp is the same life YOU as the PEOPLE claim you are trying to CHANGE!! Tortola people to WORTHLESS and DISLOYAL!

  • PR (24/06/2013, 09:51) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Bible said Jesus come to save sinners, it did not say it come to save Christians,
  • Lord Snooty (24/06/2013, 10:04) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The prison is no picnic and all of you who think that its some hotel ought to go check in for yourselves. Prisoners are imprisoned because of their crimes committed, and must be dealt punishment - no argument from me there.

    However, let us not forget though that they have rights and are humans. Programs need to be implemented to get those back on the right track so that they can re-enter the society and contribute lawfully as citizens. Granted there are some who we may not be able to save, but that does not mean all of them are useless and cannot change. The Court system here just remands, remands, remands, surely some of these first time offenders can be fined heavily, and put on strict probation periods. Instead everybody goes to jail - resulting in overcrowding. I understand there are food shortages up there, so now they ought to be starved to death as punishment as well. A poster said it right, some who ought to really be in the jail are out of it. We will continue to breathe resentment, hatred, and more criminals under the current system. Mark my words. Frustrate the hell out of a man and see what happens.
  • Ah tell yuh (24/06/2013, 10:13) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    I want to go balsum Ghut. LOOK AT THAT VIEW!!!!!!!! Maybe I'll rob a bank this weekend, lol
  • convic (24/06/2013, 10:40) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who feels it knows it I was there its real heard and its true all the government doing is breeding criminals cause the drug men linking with the gun men so when they done form there alliance wa tortola less police gone do
  • Turtle Dove (24/06/2013, 11:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    AFTER THE BIG CERMONEY TWO WEEKS AGO BUT THIS AND THAT NOW HERE WE GOING MORE TRUTH COMING OUT….Myron go sit down…this now explains why the governor needs to stay an extra year to do your job…useless politician
  • usvi (24/06/2013, 11:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    You have multiple people that aren't from there.. Locked up and tortured mentally because of lack of food and the injustice that was inflicted to get them there... Let my people go or it will only get worst ... Be very careful who u choose to protect and who u are trying to set up!! Rvipd has leaks and we know EVERYTHING. If the judges and dpp and police is one.. Then all the hustlers gangsters and killers should be one also!! Let my people go!
  • throw away the key (24/06/2013, 13:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Haat thry expext tthey are locked up for chris sake
  • YYYY (24/06/2013, 18:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well saw
  • INMATE (24/06/2013, 22:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    The first thing the minster need to do is fire C***** F****, we would asked the lord to give us back holder any day over tha @#$

  • NO MORE HOTEL (25/06/2013, 09:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I CALLED WHEN THEY USE TO ALL THE PRISON A HOTEL, NOW TODAY THE PRISON IS A PRISON.

    ABOUT TIME THO. I SAY THIS ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE THERE, NOT THE ONES THAT ARE INNOCENT, BUT THEOSE THAT A GUILTY AND CHARGE.

    AND YET, EVEN BEING GUILTY, YOUR STILL HUMAN AND HUMAN RIHT SHOULD BE FOR ALL. HOPE ITS GET SOME WHAT GOOD.
  • Disarmament? (27/06/2013, 00:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If knowing I will get the opportunity to eat ah food is possible, I'll be ready to fix the issues real soon


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