NASSAU – A 42-year-old schizophrenic man has been held in prison without medication, charge or court date for more than three years.
Alfairs Agregory Higgs was arrested in Freeport after an incident at the immigration department in February 2015.
Now Higgs’ family are begging the government to intervene as they fear as he waits in limbo in Fox Hill prison their loved one’s mental illness is worsening brought on by the squalid and dangerous living conditions at the jail.
Higgs spent 11 years in a US prison, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on medication.
Since his incarceration – for which his family insist no charges have ever been brought – Higgs has been stabbed by another inmate.
“He’s been there from 39,” said Higgs’ father, an Abaco resident who asked for his name to be withheld due to his profession.
“He’s 42 now, he spent his 40th, his 41st, and his 42nd birthday in there.
“He’s suffering man, the last time I was there they wouldn’t let me see him. They told me he was gone he’s not in there. Gone where? I still haven’t seen him yet the other times I went before it was no problem.
His father continued: “It’s sad, and he’s getting worse. I haven’t seen him about a year. The last time I was there he told me he’s drinking his own pee. He has never ever been to court, how did they get a committal for him, you have to have a warrant of committal and you can only get that from the court.”
Relatives claim Higgs grew frustrated after having been repeatedly turned away during attempts to present his documents and make good on a letter he received while out of the country that his citizenship application had been approved.
The Tribune was contacted by his sister Candace Mills, 33, following the newspaper’s coverage of long-term detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Center.
“Technically he’s not in Fox Hill prison,” Mills said, “technically he’s just being held by immigration. When I asked before at the prison they said they can’t tell me nothing other than he’s being held by immigration. Why does he have to be held in there?
“In there is awful, even on the outside you can tell it’s awful, even when you go for visits the heat will knock you out.”
She continued: “Even if they had to house him in there for a minute they never came back for him. They have forgotten about him. When you calling around nobody knows nothing, nobody never knows nothing when it comes to him.”
Higgs was born on December 2, 1975 in Eight Mile Rock, and was a student at SC Bootle High School (formerly Cooper Town High). His mother was a Turks Islander and his father is Bahamian.
Although he did not have a passport, Higgs had a travel document and was living in the United States when he was convicted of rape on April 12, 2004 was jailed and went on to serve 11 years, Higgs returned to Abaco for a few months and then back to Grand Bahama where he worked as a barber.
According to relatives, he received a letter notifying him his citizenship application had been approved but could not take part in the swearing-in ceremony because he was incarcerated in the United States.
His father said: “He had all his documents on him when he got locked up, now they can’t seem to find it. He had his old traveling document issued by government. All of his birth certificate, schools records, the letter they wrote to him for citizenship. He had a cheque on him for $500 because someone paid him by cheque knowing full well he couldn’t cash it because he had no ID.
Higgs’ father continued: “So he went there because he needed identification and they kept turning him around so he carried on and so they decide to lock him up.
“They put him in the detention centre, and we told them he needed his medication. And when he was there a few months they say he break up the detention centre, pull some wires out of the wall. So they sent him to the prison. But he’s on medication, I told them he needs help.”
Mills said she hasn’t been able to visit her brother regularly because of her job, which doesn’t allow for time-consuming and hectic prison visitation days.
However, she admitted part of the reason she’s stayed away is because it breaks her heart to see her brother in such a helpless state and feeling powerless to help him.
“I couldn’t go there and see him like that. Why not put him on a ward? If he come out now he may have to go straight to Sandilands and then maybe he can come out on this road,” she said.
Mills continued: “He ain’t no saint, don’t get me wrong. I feel for what he did he serve 11 years in prison but as things are it’s not right.
“If he has committed a crime they should take him before court but that has never happened.”
The Tribune attempted to contact the director of immigration Clarence Russell but he did not return our calls.
“He got stabbed here in jail and I only know because my kid’s dad is in jail and he let people know if anything happen to Greg (Higgs) to let him know.
“But when he comes out I don’t have no eyes or ears on him, I don’t know if he (Higgs) can use the phone or doesn’t know how but he doesn’t call us. I’m sorry he (boyfriend) had to go to jail to know how my brother doing, for the last 18 months I’ve been knowing how Greg been doing because of him,” Mills said.
Higgs’ father said he met with the British Consul to see if they could render assistance given his mother was from Turks and Caicos, but was informed that they would not get involved.