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(SNO) — Saint Lucian Kirdisha Augustina Chitolie, one of the new recruits at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI), has indicated that she has always been interested in working in the correctional services.
St. Lucia News Online contacted Chitolie after learning about her appointment as prison officer assigned to the admissions department of HMP, effective Oct. 15, 2018.
“I love my job,” she told this reporter. “I’ve always been interested in that field because my brothers are police and prison officers and that gave me more of an interest, so I am following in my brothers’ footsteps.”
The 23-year-old, who is originally from Pierrot, Vieux Fort in Saint Lucia, has been living in the BVI for the past two years. Prior to her appointment at HMP, she taught at the Chapman Learning Center in the BVI for one year, and previously at Terrence B. Lettsome International Aiport as a cashier.
When asked where she sees herself in the next five to 10 years, Chitolie said: “Doing better and making her Majesty’s Prison one of the best prisons in the Caribbean.” Sky is also the limit, as she told this reporter — when asked — that being a prison director somewhere in the Caribbean is also one of her goals.
Her boss at HMP is also Saint Lucian — Verne Garde. The former director of the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) in Saint Lucia, took up duties as the new superintendent of prison in the BVI on July 2, 2018, on a two-year contract.
According to BVI News, nine new prison officers have been recruited at HMP, eight from other Caribbean countries with one from the BVI.
Garde told BVI News that the new officers officially began working in late October after completing two weeks of training.
“It’s not really additional staff. Basically, we had certain vacancies that existed because some staff over a period had exited the facility by various means so we’re just filling vacancies. We just met our established number,” the prison boss was quoted as saying by BVI News.
HMP currently employs a total of 92 staff comprising 79 prison officers, the online newspaper reported, adding that “a number of prison officers had reportedly left after the onslaught of Hurricane Irma”.