A violent altercation Sunday evening at Her Majesty’s Prison left three inmates wounded and one dead, Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said Sunday night.
Three of the four inmates were subsequently rushed to the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital to be treated for stab wounds, including Nickail Chambers, who died in the hospital, according to Mr. Malone.
“On behalf of the government and people of the Virgin Islands, I offer our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and pray that the injured inmates will make a full recovery,” Mr. Malone stated.
But police and Mr. Malone initially provided conflicting accounts of what transpired after the stabbing.
The minister claimed Sunday that one inmate had been charged, while Ms. Drayton stated in a Monday press release that two men had been arrested in relation to the incident but no charges had been laid.
Yesterday, in response to a query from the Beacon seeking clarification, Health and Social Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Petrona Davies clarified that the police’s statement was correct and that no charges have been laid.
“We apologise for the error,” stated a message from Ms. Davies’ office.
Acting Prison Superintendent Royston Percival declined to comment and directed questions to Mr. Malone, who could not be reached for comment.
In a Monday statement, Governor John Rankin wrote that he was “deeply concerned about the events” at the prison, adding that he had called a meeting of the National Security Council that evening.
“The safety and security of the prison inmates, all staff and officers are an absolute priority,” Mr. Rankin stated.
As a result of the Monday meeting, NSC officials decided to place on administrative leave the two senior prison officers who were on duty during the incident, and to launch an internal inquiry into the weekend’s violence, according to a Monday night press release.
And while the police investigate Sunday’s incident, the NSC also “instructed that a wider external review of security arrangements at [the prison] should be commissioned,” the press release stated.
Mr. Chambers was charged with attempted murder in July 2017 and remanded to prison, after prosecutors alleged that he shot at a longtime friend following a dispute at a basketball court.
He was sentenced in July 2019 to more than ten years in prison.