BORDELAIS OF­FI­CIAL RE­ACTS TO ABUSE AL­LE­GA­TIONS

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

An ap­pre­hen­sive look­ing Han­son James stood be­fore a video cam­era pre­pared to tell who­ever was will­ing to lis­ten to him about his ex­pe­ri­ence at the Bordelais Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity. The video clip that has been cir­cu­lat­ing through the me­dia over the last week starts with a fel­low in­mate prompt­ing Han­son, the 33-year-old in­mate who es­caped from the prison last week, to “talk loud” while Han­son hes­i­tat­ingly stands in what ap­pears to be a prison cell, with one of his arms in a sling.

“I have been tor­mented in­side here by of­fi­cers,” he says. “Abused by them for the long­est while. No one in­side here has been tak­ing steps for me. Ev­ery­one I’ve tried to speak to, I’ve been ig­nored by all of them in­side here . . .”

A flood of se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions re­lat­ing to hu­man rights pours out of him, most aimed at Bordelais per­son­nel.

“I have been vi­o­lated in­side here,” he says look­ing into the cam­era. “My life has been vi­o­lated. I’ve been abused by of­fi­cers sev­eral times. I couldn’t take it any­more. I had to es­cape from the prison so that I could get to the me­dia and re­port to the min­istry, to let the pub­lic and so­ci­ety know what I’ve been fac­ing for the long­est while in­side here . . .”

He re­called an oc­ca­sion when he was taken to an undis­closed lo­ca­tion and beaten. “I even get black eye,” he said. “I get black eye by them.” The one minute and 14 sec­ond long video comes to an abrupt end.

On Thurs­day the spoke with Leonard Ter­rence, Bordelais’ Deputy Di­rec­tor of Cor­rec­tions, about Han­son’s al­le­ga­tions. The prison of­fi­cial said he could not say the per­son who’d made the ac­cu­sa­tions was in fact Han­son ‘Dirty White’ James.

“I heard the news re­port last night,” he con­firmed, “and like I said, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will lead wher­ever. Han­son made cer­tain state­ments. I’m not sur­prised by the state­ments. The in­ves­ti­ga­tions will lead where they lead. I don’t even know if it was a cell phone he used, be­cause on ev­ery cell unit you have the in­mates with cell phones they can use legally. I am not sure whether he called from that or wher­ever.”

Fur­ther re­ac­tion to Han­son’s al­le­ga­tions, Ter­rance stated: “That’s him say­ing these things. I do not want to say any­thing to prej­u­dice any in­ves­ti­ga­tion that is go­ing on. As soon as the po­lice of­fi­cers are done [with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion] they will make an an­nounce­ment, and we will move on from there.”

Ter­rence could not say when the probe might be com­pleted but he gave his as­sur­ance the re­sult will be made pub­lic. At a press con­fer­ence on Oc­to­ber 18 with Christ Felix, Bordelais’ As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor of Op­er­a­tions, Ter­rence re­vealed Han­son had made good his es­cape by scal­ing a ra­zor-wired fence.

“When the doc­tor ex­am­ines him we will get a bet­ter med­i­cal re­port on him,” Ter­rence had said at the press con­fer­ence. When the spoke to him this week he would not com­ment on the re­cap­tured pris­oner’s con­di­tion but said “nor­mally the in­mates would re­ceive some med­i­cal at­ten­tion.” He could not “say for cer­tain” what hap­pened in this par­tic­u­lar case. “As far as I know, the in­mates see a nurse on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

As for Han­son’s men­tal health, the Deputy Di­rec­tor said the in­mate had been “on the verge of show­ing some signs of men­tal health is­sues.” Ten years ago Han­son had es­caped po­lice cus­tody while re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal.

Deputy Di­rec­tor Leonard Ter­rance has promised full disclosure fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the lat­est prison es­cape.

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