Prisoners in Guyana were not so happy to learn that they will not be granted a presidential pardon by their President for this Christmas. Recently, President David Granger shared that there will be none this time around as he hasn’t seen a candidate who is qualified for the privileged. In his weekly interview programme, Public Interest, Granger said that the nominations which were brought before him were unacceptable. Among the other prisoners to not receive his grace, he clearly expressed that murderers and drug traffickers were not be given the privilege.
President David Granger said: “I didn’t pardon anyone at Independence because many of the persons who would normally be eligible for pardon were in fact convicted for trafficking in cocaine, not possession of a few grams of marijuana, and I am not going to tolerate trafficking. I am not going to tolerate murder. I am not going to pardon anybody who has got blood on their hands.”
Since taking office last May, the former army general has defied strong criticism, issuing presidential pardons to some 100 people. A major amount of these issues included non-violent first time offenders. He also expressed his view that he thinks the youth belonged in colleges and universities, and not in prison.
President Granger touched on minor offences, where he said that someone who was incarcerated for a minor offence for a long period may become a habitual criminal. In response to this, he argued that this could be prevented if the accused is pardon and given an early release so that they could have an opportunity to turn their life around and make a meaningful contribution to society.
This past Monday, Granger make it clear that he would maintain the tradition of presidential pardons for convicts who meet his criteria, but would still hold a firm hand on hardened criminals who must pay the full price for their acts.
“I don’t pardon people for the sake of pardoning people. I pardon people to give them a second chance in life,” he insisted.