Prison remains firm, no COVID-19 test, no entry

Prison authorities at Grenada’s main penitentiary, Her Majesty’s Prison, remain firm on not bending their COVID 19 regulations to accommodate anyone. Two Vincentians remanded to the prison on Monday were told in no uncertain terms, no entry unless they are tested.

The two accused, Canlar Vincent Charles from Union Island, St. Vincent and Janell Junior Charles from mainland St Vincent both appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Teddy St. Louis at the St George’s Magistrate Court on separate drug-related charges. However, having been denied bail, their entrance to the Richmond Hill Prison, based on an order from the magistrate was met with some difficulties, as prison authorities remain adamant that the men would not be allowed on the prison compound without a COVID-19 test confirming their statuses.

 According to information reaching the Grenada Informer, up until late on Wednesday, the men were still at the Central Police Station awaiting the result of a rapid test before making their way to the prison to commence a fourteen-day quarantine process before entering the main prison.

Canlar Vincent, one of the two men remanded were captured during a drug operation at Mabouya Bay in St. John on May 5th while Janell was captured during a raid on a house in Mt. Granby in St John on May 10th

 Both men face charges related to illegal entry into the State of Grenada and trafficking a controlled drug. The two are expected to make their second court appearance at the Gouyave Magistrate Court on Friday 15th.

 Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with Prison Commissioner, James Mitchell on Thursday he said the decision taken relative to the two prisoners on Wednesday was in no way personal nor was it an attempt to pressure anyone or work against the wishes of the court but to ensure that the protocol established in conjunction with the COVID-19 Committee, the Police and the court are adhered to in the interest of all.

 Mitchell said so far, they have done well in keeping the virus out of the prison and they would do all in their power to keep it that way. The decision taken he said was not done in isolation but in consultation with all the stakeholders, knowing fully well what is at stake, if COVID-19 makes its way into the prison.

 The commissioner took the opportunity to commend all the frontline workers at Her Majesty’s Prison for their contribution thus far and remind them that through cooperation they would win the fight against the COVID 19.

 Responding to whether or not the men did enter the prison Mitchell said, based on the protocol they would have completed phase one, that of testing. They are now kept at a single cell on the compound where they would remain for fourteen days. He went on to say that following this, they would be retested and base on the result, a decision would be made on whether or not they would be admitted to the main prison.  

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