Beautiful Virgin Islands

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Escaping Immigration detainees now a nat’l security issue - Fahie

Escaping Immigration detainees now a nat’l security issue - Fahie

Premier Andrew Fahie has described the recurring issue of escaping Immigration detainees as a national security issue.

Numerous detainees have escaped the clutches of private security officers and police in recent months after they were placed under guard mainly at two hotels in the capital city of Road Town.

While some of those detainees have since been recaptured, others continue to remain at large.

“It is a national security issue now of deep concern and I can’t say all that has been discussed, but there are some measures discussed that are going to be put in place,” the Premier stated at a press conference last Friday.

However, Premier Fahie indicated that these measures have not been discussed outside of the National Security Council (NSC), and said they remain confidential.

The Premier further related that millions of dollars continue to be expended to house Immigration detainees in compliance with international human rights conventions and explained that it would be a violation for them to be held in prison.

I can’t speculate


Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley said he could only speculate on the reasons for the troublesome issue.

“I could only speculate, but I don’t think that [Hotel] Castle Maria, where most of them tend to stay, was designed for as many persons as we tend to get sometimes,” Wheatley expressed.

“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.

Minister Wheatley said investigations are being conducted into why the escapes continue to happen.

They are not animals


He also told reporters that the government spent a considerable sum of money on the detainees in recent months.

“The figure I saw recently was around a million dollars,” Minister Wheatley said. “These things do cost us. Because if there are court hearings, if there are medical situations, the security situation, accommodations, food, [the government has to foot the bill].”

He added: “We must feed persons that are held in captivity because of the international conventions we are a part of. They are not animals, they are human beings still. We have to treat them with a certain level of dignity which does cost taxpayers of this country.”

“We have to move towards a detention centre,” the minister further said.

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