On Tuesday, David Foot officially stepped down as the superintendent of prisons in the Virgin Islands.
Mr. Foot told the Beacon that his already-extended contract has ended, and that he plans to leave the territory tonight.
“My two-year contract originally finished in December, but I told the governor and [Education and Culture Minister Myron Walwyn] that I would stay for an additional six months because there was no one in place after the hurricane and there was work to be done on the prison,” he said. “I didn’t think it was appropriate to walk out, … but it’s my choice to leave.”
According to St. Lucia Times, Director of Corrections Vern Garde has tendered his resignation at Bordelais Correctional Facility and is set to become the next head of Her Majesty’s Prison.
But Mr. Foot could not confirm Mr. Garde would be taking his position, and Governor Gus Jaspert and Mr. Walwyn could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I haven’t had formal confirmation of that yet,” Mr. Foot said. “I’m waiting for human resources to let prison authorities know so we can make contact and hand over.”
In the meantime, Royston Percival will take over as the acting superintendent until the new head arrives in the territory, according to Mr. Foot.
19 prisoners still abroad
He added that 19 prisoners remain in St. Lucia after last year’s transfer to BCF in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Two men were brought back to Balsam Ghut this year after going from “convicted prisoners to remanded prisoners,” the superintendent explained.
The pair, Allen Baptiste and Alcedo Tyson, both recently had their life sentences for murder set aside in separate Court of Appeal decisions. They are now awaiting possible retrials.
The remaining prisoners in St. Lucia are all “very healthy and well looked after by local authorities,” Mr. Foot said.
Though he could not give an exact date for when they will be brought back to the VI, the superintendent said the move hinges on prison repairs and will “certainly” come before the height of the hurricane season.
“They will return as soon as rebuilding work is completed at the prison,” he said, “so as soon as we can possibly make that happen.”