St. Lucian Verne Garde announces stricter auditing, reform plans for BVI prison system

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St. Lucian Verne Garde announces stricter auditing, reform plans for BVI prison system
Superintendent of Prison, Verne Garde.
Superintendent of Prison, Verne Garde.

(BVI NEWS) — Stricter and more systematic auditing of the daily operations of Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut has been promised under the leadership of the penitentiary’s recently-appointed Superintendent, Verne Garde.

Garde told BVI News this week that he has placed priority on accountability at the facility since noting what he described as ‘deficiencies’ in the so-called prison books.

He said he is moving to develop a prison environment that ‘fosters a good audit trail’.

“We need to know what everybody is doing at every time, how they did it, when they did it, and so forth. So, if we need to go back to a particular thing that happened at the prison, we can. It (auditing) is a place where the facility was deficient but, for the last two months, we’ve been able to tighten up on it so we have a better audit trail of certain things.”

Coming into his role as head of the Balsam Ghut-based correctional facility, Superintendent Garde said he has also noticed the occasional ‘hiccup’ in the administration and infrastructure of the prison.

He, however, made it clear that his observations are in no way an attack on his predecessor David Foot – the United Kingdom national who had been in charge of the prison for the last half-a-decade.

Reform plan

Garde applauded Foot for his efforts and said he (Garde) will be rolling out a 20-point reform plan for the BVI prison.

He said details of the plan will be announced as his two-year tenure progresses.

“I have examined the situation at Her Majesty’s prison and I realized that it needed some urgent intervention, as a result, I secured my services with the Government of the BVI to ensure that I could help in that regard.”

Superintendent Garde’s contract officially began on July 2.

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