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Gov’t foots bill for UK visits for prisoners’ families

Relatives of two convicted killers will be heading to the United Kingdom to visit the prisoners on government’s dime.
That’s according to information released to Cayman 27 through a Freedom of Information request.
Relatives of brothers Justin Ramoon and Osbourne Douglas will be heading to the UK on an all-expenses-paid trip to visit them at Belmarsh prison on government’s tab.
The two convicted murderers had been serving time in Northward for killing Jason Powery before they were transferred to a UK prison last year.
According to the FOI government will pay for the brothers’ immediate family members to fly economy to the UK and will also foot the bill for up to a week’s accommodations and food. Cayman 27 requested an exact figure of how much that will cost, but the Governor’s Office said in the FOI response no exact cost could be given because tickets haven’t been booked yet.

An economy ticket on British Airways Tuesday (4 September) from Grand Cayman to Heathrow cost around US $1192.  The FOI response says this is part of a government policy to support and fund visits to the UK of immediate family members of prisoners who have been transferred there from prisons in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman prisoners in the UK are also supported to maintain contact with families and legal advisers here by means of telephone and video conferencing.

As for travel, the FOI said, “the number of family members supported to travel and the frequency of visits would depend on family circumstances such as the number of children.”

According to the FOI, “the visits would be done to facilitate contact between prisoners and their families as part of government’s general obligation in relation to private and family life.”
The FOI states that these matters are being dealt with on a case by case basis and no such visits have undertaken thus far. The brothers are challenging their transfers to the UK through the court.

The full FOI states:

In response to your FOI request.  We can confirm the following:

  • Matters such as this will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Government would support and fund visits to the UK of immediate family members of prisoners who have been transferred there from prisons in the Cayman Islands. This would be done to facilitate contact between prisoners and their families as part of Government’s general obligation in relation to private and family life.
  • Prisoners in the UK are also supported to maintain contact with families and legal advisers in the Cayman Islands by means of telephone and video conferencing.
  • The number of family members supported to travel and the frequency of visits would depend on family circumstances such as the number of children.  Funding would generally cover basic costs such as economy class flights and reasonable hotel and food expenses for up to a week’s visit.
  • No such visits have yet been undertaken.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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