by Linda Straker
- SGU Grand Anse Campus Building 3 gazetted Prison and Lock-Up facility on 24 September
- Redundancy measure in case Her Majesty Prisons isolation facility become filled
- Not currently in use
The decision by the Government to declare a section of a state quarantine facility on Grand Anse Beach a “prisons and lock-up” is a proactive measure to ensure that there is another facility available to house prisoners who are Covid-19 positive, or have been exposed to the virus and need to be quarantined.
“This is a temporary mechanism to serve as a halfway point for people sentenced or remanded to Her Majesty’s Prisons who may be positive for Covid-19. The predominant purpose of this measure is to remove the risk of sending positive cases into our prison that can potentially infect the population,” Edvin Martin, Commissioner of Police said when asked to explain the reason why Building 3 of the Grand Anse Campus of St George’s University is a prison and lock up. The declaration was Gazetted on 24 September 2021.
Martin said under the law to legally hold a person as a prisoner there are certain legal steps that must be taken to avoid future legal challenges. “The facility has to be designated for the purposes intended, for if someone is held in any facility not so designated, we can have legal challenges if anything happens to those individuals,” he said.
Martin said that the island’s lone prison at Richmond Hill made adjustments in-house to isolate a limited number of such prisoners. “Therefore, this mechanism is a redundancy measure in case Her Majesty Prisons isolation facility become filled. This said facility may never be used,” he said while confirming that currently there are no prisoners in the Grand Anse Prison and Lock-Up facility.
From mid-August, Grenada began recording increased Covid-19 cases, and by early September health authorities declared that there was community spread. As of 5 October 2021 there were 5,484positive cumulative cases but 4,622 have been declared as medically recovered.
During the peak of the outbreak, the prison was not speared from Covid-19 positive cases and several prisoners had to be placed in the special isolation/quarantine Covid-19 section.