In the wake of yet another escape by a detainee from a temporary facility that acts as the government’s immigration detention centre, a senior police officer is calling for a new facility to be established.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police St Clair Amory argued that the BVI needs a suitable facility to prevent those frequent occurrences from happening.
“I think what has happened over time is that, there’s a need for a proper detention centre and I think that of itself is what is actually contributing to persons being able to escape,“ Amory said on the Talking Points radio show this week.
He added that as soon as this can be put in place, it minimises the opportunity for all the persons to escape.
Amory explained that persons are detained based on the fact that they are smuggled into the territory. They become detainees of the Immigration Department until they are actually repatriated to their respective countries.
But he said he can’t blame the Immigration Department or anyone else for the escape of persons in those instances.
“You have to understand something, too, despite the fact that you may have security, when that person would’ve left from wherever they came from and smuggled across here, what was their intention?” Amory asked.
“Even though you have the person detained, any little opportunity that person gets, they are going to try and get away; sometimes maybe at any cost,” he added.
The Immigration Department has repeatedly issued bulletins over the last few years for detainees that have escaped the Hotel Castle Maria facility, even as it is guarded by security officers. While some of the detainees have been recaptured, others continue to elude the clutches of law enforcement.
Earlier this year, former Premier Andrew Fahie
described the recurring issue of escaping immigration detainees as a national security issue.
In the meantime, former Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley said at the time that he could only speculate on the reasons for the frequent escapes.
“Apart from maybe their regular customers, we may have 30-something persons in there with various conditions. I imagine it’s a security challenge for police officers or the security companies to be able to manage. I cannot say why they’re escaping,” Wheatley stated at the time.