a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were no reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison and detention center conditions were harsh due to inadequate sanitary conditions and overcrowding.
Physical Conditions: Her Majesty’s Prison, the country’s only prison, was built in 1735 and was grossly overcrowded. Some inmates had to sleep on cardboard on the floor. Remanded prisoners were sometimes held together with convicted prisoners, depending on the number of prisoners. Remanded inmates faced the harshest conditions, since their cells were the most overcrowded. Juvenile inmates were held in a separate detention center.
Cells were hot due to poor ventilation, and hygiene was inadequate. According to media reports, there were outbreaks of chicken pox, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and scabies during the year. The prison had inadequate toilet facilities; prisoners used slop pails in cells. The men’s section had no showers; inmates used buckets to wash themselves. Prison staff provided some feminine hygiene products to women, although most female inmates’ families provided for this need. Conditions in the kitchen were unsanitary, and insects, rodents, and cats were present. The yard area had stray cats and rodents.
Inmates with mental disabilities were held in the prison because the country’s psychiatric facility was also overcrowded. The prison superintendent reported inmates had access to a mental-health professional. The superintendent reported bribery and corruption were common in the prison, with guards allegedly taking bribes and smuggling contraband such as liquor, cell phones, and marijuana to prisoners.
Conditions at the police holding facility in Saint John’s police station were also deficient. There were reports of rat and cockroach infestations. Media reported inmates threatened to sue due to inhuman conditions. Toilets were clogged and washroom floors were flooded by dark water with what appeared to be waste matter floating in it. Like Her Majesty’s Prison, the building was old and in a state of disrepair.
Administration: Authorities investigated mistreatment in several ways, including by a prison welfare officer, an independent complaints committee, and a prisoner appointed to lodge complaints on behalf of other inmates. The independent Prison Visiting Committee expressed frustration with the lack of government action to implement its recommendations, leading to the resignation of several committee members.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted prison visits by independent human rights observers, although no such visits occurred during the year.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and provides for the right of any person to challenge his or her arrest or detention in court. The government generally observed these requirements.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
The law permits police to arrest a person without a warrant, based on a suspicion of criminal activity. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and victims reported police abused this provision. Police must bring detainees before a court within 48 hours of arrest or detention or file a motion requesting an extension. The law stipulates prisoners must be released if these time limits are not met. NGOs reported detainees were sometimes held for as long as 96 hours before being presented to a court. Authorities allowed criminal detainees prompt access to counsel and family members. There is a functioning bail system. A person accused of murder cannot obtain bail.
Pretrial Detention: Some prisoners on remand remained in detention for up to four years before their cases came to trial, according to the director of the Office of Public Prosecutions.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.
The constitution provides for the right to a fair and public trial by jury, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right.
Defendants have the right to a presumption of innocence. Defendants have a right to a timely trial and to be present at their trial. Defendants have the right to timely access to counsel. The government provides legal assistance at public expense to persons without the means to retain a private attorney, but only in capital cases. Defendants have free assistance of an interpreter if needed. They have the right to confront adverse witnesses and to present their own witnesses and evidence. Defendants may not be compelled to testify or confess guilt. Defendants have the right to appeal.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Individuals and organizations may seek civil remedies through domestic courts for human rights violations. They may apply to the High Court for redress of alleged violations of their constitutional rights. They may appeal adverse domestic decisions to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.