President David Granger says no one has been pardoned this year to coincide with Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary because they did not meet the benchmark and he will not free convicted drug traffickers and murderers.
“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 grammes 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,” he said on the latest edition of his weekly interview programme, ‘Public Interest.’
With almost 100 persons having received presidential pardons since Granger came to office in May, 2015, the Guyanese leader has come in for sharp criticism who believe that such compassion only emboldens criminals to commit non-lethal offences.
In the past, pardoned persons included those convicted for robbery with aggravation and possession of small amounts of marijuana
The President said he would continue to pardon convicts who meet the criteria, but in recent months he said those who had been nominated did not meet the benchmark. “I don’t pardon people for the sake of pardoning people. I pardon people to give them a second chance in life.”
The opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has called for the criteria and names of pardoned prisoners i be made public. Government is yet to do so.