Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis has confirmed that going forward the smuggling of contraband including cellphones into the Bordelais Correctional Facility(BCF) will be subject to extremely high scrutiny by prison authorities.
This as the inmates violated prison rules by taking to social media via Live Stream broadcasts from mobile phones to vent their dissatisfaction with the way in which the Covid-19 virus was being managed at the prison. Calm has been restored to the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) and more specifically the remand block of the compound. However, the authorities are remaining vigilant and assure the public that the inmates are being supplied with Covid- 19 protocol information, face masks and gel hand sanitizers.
“What happened was very instructive in that we recognized that the prisoners had the ability to stream live because they were in possession of cell phones. This is not the first time this has happened and we are looking at ways and means of dealing with that issue so that in future, even if the prisoners have the cell phones, and found ways and means of bringing it into their possession, they will not be able to use it.” Minister Francis asserted.
Concerning the pace at which the courts of law hear cases, the National Security Minister noted that like many other sectors, the pandemic has also adversely affected the judicial system. Notwithstanding, he made the point that several individuals who are on remand have been granted bail. However, they, are yet to meet the bail conditions which essentially includes cash or suitable surety.
Nevertheless, he says he has requested through the proper channels for a possible review of simpler cases. “As we know it is not normal times, and we’ve moved to virtual hearings. We have been able to do a few, but it is not as many as we have expected or we would have like to happen” he said.
Speaking optimistically about the future, the minister announced that two new judges have been
added to the roster to hear matters and this he hopes shall assist in alleviating some of the backlog in pending court matters. Senator Francis has taken the opportunity to thank the management, correctional staff and all front-liners who ensured the unrest at the prison was quelled and normalcy restored.
As the Minister has said, all prisons worldwide suffer from the proliferation of illicit mobiles, however Bordelais has been offered solutions to the problem which would be 100% effective but the authorities prefer to spend our limited resources on much more glamorous projects such as Derek Walcott Square rather than the Illicit Mobiles in Bordelais.