In a recent media briefing, hosted at Cabinet Room in Kingstown, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves opined that 2 recently published videos that captured inmates at the Belle Isle prison of Her Majesty’s Prisons using contraband must have been facilitated by one or more prison officers.
Dr. Gonsalves was at the time responding to questions posed with respect to the results of any investigations into the matter. “I’ve haven’t gotten the results but I personally called the Commissioner and I personally called the Superintendent of Prisons telling them the I would like to get the report now! The prisoners were breaking the prison rules. And it’s difficult for me as a normal, a sensible being – a normal person, bredren, with sense – that you could have prisoners inside of the prisons with cell phones and some prison officers are not colluding. It’s difficult for me to believe that. Of course that is part of the investigation because if there are indeed prison officers, they are breaking the regulations too, they are breaking the law. And that is a matter which the Public Service Commission, from a disciplinary standpoint would be entitled to deal with.”
PM Gonsalves is also the Minister with responsibility for National Security concerns under whose jurisdiction prison management falls. He sought to distance himself from any potential disciplinary actions that may be necessary, if such time comes.
“I don’t deal with discipline of public servants. I stay in my crease. I don’t deal with the discipline of pubic servants. I’m the Chief Executive, I called the Superintendent of Prisons I said ‘this is a serious matter. You have to investigate this matter,’ similar thing with the Commissioner of Police.”
If ever such investigations conclude though, PM Gonsalves explained, “what information I get I may or may not tell you or tell you all of it. Let’s say John Browne’s name is mentioned as a prison warden who give Ephraim Burke a cell phone. I can’t tell you that. Because that would be evidence which would be brought either to a Criminal Court or to an internal disciplinary matter leading right up to the – in the case of the prison officer – the Public Service Commission. So I can’t muddy the water, I can’t pollute it either internally or in the Courts by giving you that kind of information. I’d be able to say well yes I’ve read the report and it would appear to me that certain actions would be taken by the relevant authorities in dealing with this matter – that relevant authority is me but I don’t prosecute. I go to Parliament and I provide the resources to strengthen the prosecuting arm of the State.”
The videos show Alister Gould who is currently serving a murder sentence, Osbourne Brudy incarcerated on armed robbery and abduction charges and convicted burglar Moneesh Davis at various points. Gould starts one recording with a selfie and says, “bare evil head niggas ‘round deh place.” He goes off camera to feature Brudy who chimes in with, “fully stupidness: Rule number 1, I always right, rule number 2, if I say something wrong go back to rule number one.” He exits the screen in an explosion of laughter and then Gould pans the room to show other prisoners in there various states of comfort. This 29 seconds video ends after Gould, back on camera, says “up, up! Genna, govern.” He mimes squeezing shots out of a gun.
The next video runs for about 30 seconds, is expletive and gun signal laced and features Davis who said, “if it’s right, it’s right and you gonna die tonight if the money is right nigga.” At least 2 other prisoners could be seen using phones.