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Foot at the head! On the job at HM Prison

-Some residents concerned VI moving backwards with an expat Police Commissioner, and now Superintendent of Prison
The new Superintendent of Prisons, Mr David Foot has started his tenure in the Virgin Islands. Mr Foot’s experience and résumé, according the a Government Information press release, seems to be deep and wide, however, its left to be seen if he has the influence necessary to get the local government to address the many issues that plague the prison and contributes to the poor environment of the inmates. Photo: Team of Reporters
Mr Charles L. Forbes’ (left) contract was not renewed by Government when it expired in September of this year after a recommendation from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Security Council with the full knowledge of the controversial Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, according to an NDP source. Photo; VINO/File
Mr Charles L. Forbes’ (left) contract was not renewed by Government when it expired in September of this year after a recommendation from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Security Council with the full knowledge of the controversial Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, according to an NDP source. Photo; VINO/File
Mr David Foot has his hands full with the long laundry list of real challenges at the Prison. However, to date, no local has been identified to understudy Mr Foot. Photo: Team of Reporters
Mr David Foot has his hands full with the long laundry list of real challenges at the Prison. However, to date, no local has been identified to understudy Mr Foot. Photo: Team of Reporters
Many have a keen eye on David Foot's relationship with Governor William B. McCleary as they are both white UK nationals who were appointed as opposed to the democratically elected Minister of Government. Photo: VINO/File
Many have a keen eye on David Foot's relationship with Governor William B. McCleary as they are both white UK nationals who were appointed as opposed to the democratically elected Minister of Government. Photo: VINO/File
BALSAM GHUT, Tortola, VI- The new Superintendent of Prisons, David Foot, a white United Kingdom National, has his foot in the door at the Virgin Islands’ only prison facility. He started his tenure on contract from this month.

It is so far unclear what is the reaction by inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison to this controversial appointment as many in the progressive and indigenous class have labeled it as a step backwards since they noted that two key important institutions, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and the Prison are now headed by United Kingdom nationals under the National Democratic Party (NDP).

In any case, Mr Foot has his hands full with the long laundry list of real challenges at the Prison. However, to date, no local has been identified to understudy Mr Foot.

The NDP’s public position and rhetoric have been to suggest their disapproval of having a UK national head the prisons since this is not in the best interest of the community given the Territory's colonial ties and history of slavery.

Many inmates continue to complain about the unfair legal system and the inconsistencies in sentencing by the courts, the overcrowded situation at the Balsam Ghut facility, the short staff of prison officers and even the smell of sewage that both prisoners and staff must endure.

Many have also lashed out at the blatant injustice and human rights violations of having some local men locked up for almost two years with no local charges pending against them while awaiting a United States of America extradition case. The men have been consistently denied bail.

Some prisoners were recently upset when they learnt that they were not going to be released for the day to see their family for Christmas as the courtesy was denied.

Background to Foot’s appointment-Minster Walwyn’s role

After days of investigation and speaking with Virgin Islands News Online’s many sources within the NDP Government, this news site confirmed in October 2013 that Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. Charles L. Forbes, an indigenous Virgin Islander, had lost his job with Government.

Mr Forbes’ contract was not renewed by Government when it expired in September of this year after a recommendation from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Security Council with the full knowledge of the controversial Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, according to an NDP source.

It remains unclear why Mr Forbes was chased out of office and did not secure a contract renewal.

According to the same source close to the situation, the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn who has responsibility for Her Majesty’s Prison and share some duties with the Governor, was trying to dance around the issue but he was allegedly “well aware of all the happenings over the rejection of a contract renewal for Mr  Forbes resulting in another local being put out of work.”

When the story first broke a couple months ago in the local media, Minister Walwyn claimed to selective local media houses that he did not support the appointment of a UK national to head the Prison Services. However, days after the UK-appointed Governor William B. McCleary told selective media sites that Mr Walwyn was well aware of Mr Foot’s appointment and supported it.

To save face over his flip-flop, it was reported by a local online news site that Minister Walwyn changed his story to claim his “support” for Mr Foot came only after the selection by the Governor.

While the Governor is the Head of the Civil Service, under the constitutional arrangement of 2007, no Heads of Departments or Permanent Secretaries can be appointed without the expressed approval of the subject Minister or Premier of the Virgin Islands whom the constitution gives the power of being in charge of the ministries of Government.

Who to believe? Walwyn or McCleary?

The source did confirm that Minister Walwyn wrote a letter to the Public Service Commission over his position on the post of Superintendent of Prisons. Once the controversy broke and the Governor called out the Minister on his knowledge and support of the UK national Mr. Foot over the local, the Minister released his letter dated June 6, 2013 to a pro-government online news site. The letter was addressed to ‘The Chairwomen of the Public Service Commission’ [interestingly not copied to Governor McCleary] detailing his concerns over an expat appointment.

However, the United Kingdom appointed Governor, again speaking to another media house, reportedly said he was not aware of the concerns raised by the Minister over Mr Foot's appointment and added “that the Minister was supportive of the appointment.”

According to this news site’s sources within the Ministry of Education and Culture, there were two other local applicants for the post of Superintendent of Prisons, including a Virgin Islander who is a former Police Officer and who was willing to relocate from overseas, However, Walwyn told a local online media that he “wanted a local in the post”, but his credibility on this matter continues to be questioned by the public.

Mr Foot’s experience and résumé, according the a Government Information press release, seems to be deep and wide, however, its left to be seen if he has the influence necessary to get the local government to address the many issues that plague the prison and contributes to the poor environment of the inmates.

Also many have a keen eye on his relationship with the Governor as they are both white UK nationals who were appointed as opposed to the democratically elected Minister of Government.

38 Responses to “Foot at the head! On the job at HM Prison”

  • yellow (20/12/2013, 11:15) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    VINO YOU ALL IS DEY BEST YOU ALL CALL IT AS YOU SEE IT BAM
    • polo (20/12/2013, 13:35) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      the bvi can learn a lot from the UK in getting criminals to talk...SO FOOT might be good for we
    • PAM (20/12/2013, 16:31) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      If Foot is on the job, let him send all the hard criminals to the UK because our prison cannot control them. And I mean send them NOW!
    • lil man (21/12/2013, 15:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      One thing with vino you call dem out on their lies
  • Hmm (20/12/2013, 11:23) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    the inmates dont got any say or rights cuz he done put the whole jail on lock down. but guess wat nobody dont care !! once u go jail tortola backward people consider u not human anymore so wa u get u take in jail!!
    • *** (20/12/2013, 13:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Please tell us why and stop giving one side of story.... Innocent have to suffer for guilty Right?
    • @hmmm (25/12/2013, 04:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      You do the cime you do the crime - I ain't never gonna be sorry for no murderer -
  • school children (20/12/2013, 11:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We heard it had a riot up there by the prison last night.
  • rattie (20/12/2013, 11:26) Like (16) Dislike (7) Reply
    This is a disgrace I know they could have find a local or at least leave Forbes as the deputy our people are last in the bvi
  • ooooo (20/12/2013, 11:30) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    ndp are a bunch of prevaricators and flip-flppers
  • Better man (20/12/2013, 12:02) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    "Many have also lashed out at the blatant injustice and human rights violations of having some local men locked up for almost two years with no local charges pending against them while awaiting a United States of America extradition case. The men have been consistently denied bail." this is jusat wrong someone needs to write the UN Human Rights commision and the EU Human right Commission

  • too hot (20/12/2013, 12:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    myron needs to sit down, he cant control children let alone nasty criminals, good luck Mr Foot.
  • Firebun (20/12/2013, 12:36) Like (1) Dislike (15) Reply

    Why in this day and age we could settle for a white superintendent of prisons. We are not thinking. The aim of UK is to put whites in key positions because they are looking for havens for their own. We must look beyond this and know if we do not rid ourselves of the British their aim will always be to colonize us. People wake up.

    • dem say (20/12/2013, 13:56) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply

      Why is the courts allegedly suppressing the rights of BVIslanders

  • True (20/12/2013, 12:38) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    What has the color of his skin got to do with anything? If you constantly look to the past how can you build a future?
  • Confuse me (20/12/2013, 13:03) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Upset because you don't get out for the christmas? Last time I checked you in prison though, so....
  • Dont blame me (20/12/2013, 13:06) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    At least no local person can get disciplinary action over the cause of the lock down. Foot as the head have to take the blame.
  • UK student (20/12/2013, 13:26) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    I have someone for this job I will go talk to myron
  • DON Q (20/12/2013, 13:29) Like (1) Dislike (8) Reply
    A big fat man on vacation just like the UK officers
  • mother hen (20/12/2013, 13:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    FOOT ask dem fi help wid guns and bullets nuh
  • fco (20/12/2013, 13:32) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Next stop MINISTRY OF FINANCE
  • she the cat mother (20/12/2013, 13:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    M.... leaking dey letter to platinum waz blatant opportunism

  • bad (20/12/2013, 15:48) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply

    U lockdown the jail for one man.what happen to my people who did nothing.remember u still on the road

  • 1 (20/12/2013, 15:58) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    Seems like he is on vacation already
    • SMH (20/12/2013, 22:11) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      The murky details surrounding this appoint is another reason why the NDP MUST GO!!!
  • bb (20/12/2013, 17:05) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply

    when will all you people learn, the bvi belongs to the uk, they could appoint who they want whether we like it or not, we are not an independent state, cant you people see that, customs and immigration will soon be headed by the uk, well for me it will be better, because more than half of those customs officers in the bvi belongs behind bars, but time longer than rope, hurry uk take it all over, it will be better for the bvi.

  • sun sale (20/12/2013, 19:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    hope he was shopping at craft alive and putting some of that money in the econmy
  • $$$$$$$ (20/12/2013, 19:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    what is his salery?
  • Special Agent (20/12/2013, 22:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    What I find incomprehensible in all the hysteria over this is that the NDP pretend they for locals but the facts shows differently
  • INMATE (21/12/2013, 00:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    F**t will be carrying news to the white house

  • hand (21/12/2013, 07:26) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply

    Smh tortola really!!???? Why yal like w**** man over ayo own people!!..don't never forget the jail is made for every1 in tortola u can end up in jail for a traffic ticket and all so ayo keep talkin !! Wish one of yal co end up up dey let foot put his foot up ya ass to!!!

  • let me people go (22/12/2013, 15:16) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    These tragic case of thoes 5 men locked up with out local charges symbolizes the difference between law and ethics.
    • support your own (23/12/2013, 12:26) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Some good points "let my people go" …the only thing I would add is a bit of a change to your last paragraph is ethics is only right for the USA and the white man.
  • stop the noise (24/12/2013, 00:05) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ladies and gentleman, You all should be proud to have a a man like Mr. Foot at the helm of your unorderly prison. He is pleasant, caring and will make the people proud to know that the BVI only prison is operating at a high standard. Just wait and see. The prison has being running on auto pilot for so long that it needs a knowledgeable, firm person like Mr. Foot to turn that wild kingdom (mad house) around.
  • Glop (24/12/2013, 08:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Weren't all them poor mistreated prisoners put there by black judges and mistreated till now by black wardens and officers? Give the new guy a chance.
  • Crooks (25/12/2013, 04:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    All these murderers now crying about human rights- when they were doing their evil deeds they forgot there were consequences- I am more concerned about the crime victims than these MONSTERS


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