Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Measures being taken to beef up Castle Maria security

Measures being taken to beef up Castle Maria security

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has indicated that measures are being taken to beef up security at the Castle Maria hotel which partially serves as a temporary immigration detention facility.
Over the course of the past several months, there have been numerous persons who have escaped the facility even as it was being held under guard. Just recently, one woman escaped the facility but was recaptured shortly after with the aid of a resident who called in a tip.

While expressing gratitude for the efforts made by the resident, Dr Wheatley said the government will work diligently towards avoiding a repeat situation.

“We’ve sought to increase the security at Castle Maria. Of course, we’re certainly displeased with persons escaping repeatedly from Castle Maria and so we’ve engaged the security and establishment on measures that can be taken to prevent that from taking place,” Dr Wheatley said at a recent press conference.

Premier Wheatley said that in the medium term however, the government is moving quickly towards building a detention centre.

“We had a site visit the other day, and we’ll be quickly moving towards doing the the survey work which is required to be able to advance that as well as getting designs done on an urgent basis,” the Premier said.

The territory’s leader also noted that resources from the 2023 budget will be allocated to build that facility.

Just recently, 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.

He added that as soon as this can be put in place, it minimises the opportunity for all the persons to be able to escape.

Amory said when persons are detained based on the fact that they area smuggled into the territory, they become detainees of the Immigration Department until they are actually repatriated to their respective countries.
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