Her Majesty’s Prison on Cayon Street, Basseterre

By LR Liburd

The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer 

The accusation being pedalled by social media that some Prison Officers were reportedly transferred from St. Kitts to the Prison Farm on Nevis because of political alliances has proven to be false.

A social media outlet claimed that an internal source had informed that “some of the officers were transferred because they from St. Paul’s and another one because he rallied with Konris Maynard during election time”.

The outlet also claimed that when asked, the source rubbished rumours that the officers were transferred because of taking contraband into Her Majesty’s Prison in St. Kitts, stating: “That is what management tried to imply but it is untrue. Since the officers were transferred they have found over 30 phones, so how can they stay from Nevis Prison Farm and traffic contrabands still? They not even allowed on the inside of the St. Kitts compound, so how can they? It is all politics.”

When contacted for a comment on the allegations, Superintendent of Prisons Junie ‘Scrape’ Hodge categorically stated that he knew nothing of the officers’ transfer and, if they were, “it was not during my tenure”.

His statement was confirmed not only by his subordinates, but also a letter signed by the then Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Asheila Connor, which was given to one of the men who was transferred.

The letter reads: “Please be advised that you have been transferred from the Her Majesty’s Prison Basseterre to the Prison Farm Nevis, with immediate effect. You are to report to Principal Officer Lawson Crosse upon arrival at the Farm.” 

Speaking with The Observer, an insider of the correctional institution debunked the accusations and provided a granular explanation as to the reason for the men’s transfer.

The source stated that three officers were transferred; one from St. Paul’s and the others from Basseterre.

He admitted that one of them had indeed publicly endorsed Maynard during the 2015 General Elections.

“But that had nothing to do with his transfer,” he said. “We do not discriminate at Her Majesty’s Prison! Everyone has a right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to endorse and vote for whoever they choose. That was the officer’s democratic right.”

Pressed for the reason of their transfer to the Prison Farm, the source emphatically declared that a diligent investigation found that they had contravened the Prison’s Standing Orders and it was decided that they would better serve the penitentiary in Nevis, which is not a high-risk facility.