AROUND 100 “very serious” prisoners have escaped from jail on the British Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Foreign minister Alan Duncan told the House of Commons yesterday that the convicts pose a “serious threat of the complete breakdown of law and order” on the overseas territory.
Duncan said that the prison had been breached, and that marines from RFA Mounts Bay were used to “protect the Governor and everything else about law and order” on Friday.
He revealed that more than 500,000 British nationals have been in the path of the hurricane and that 997 British military personnel are now in the Caribbean helping with the relief effort.
He added that while the death toll was low for a storm of this magnitude, the infrastructure on the island of Barbuda “no longer exists”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is visiting the British territories devastated by the hurricane.
Giving an update to MPs yesterday, Duncan said five people had died in the British Virgin Islands and four in Anguilla.
In addition to the military personnel, 47 British police officers have also arrived in the British Virgin Islands to assist local officers. 20 tonnes of UK aid has arrived in the region, including more than 2500 shelter kits and 2300 solar lanterns.
Nine tonnes of food and water supplies are due to be flown out to Anguilla imminently, Duncan said.
HMS Ocean, Britain’s biggest warship in service, is heading to the Caribbean and should be there within 10 days.
There were 420,000 British citizens in Florida either as residents or visitors, where Hurricane Irma also caused devastation.
“We should all be humble in the face of the power of nature, and whatever relief we are able to provide will not be enough for many who have lost so much,” said Duncan.
“But hundreds of dedicated British public servants are doing their utmost to help, and they will not relent in their efforts.”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry attacked the Government’s response to the disaster for being “too little and too late”.