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President pardons 11 juveniles, three women

FLASHBACK: President David Granger meeting with inmates of the New Opportunity Corps in June 2017.
The purpose of the President’s visit was primarily to listen to the concerns and needs of the children so as to ensure that those needs were catered for in the 2018 budget

President David Granger has pardoned 11 juveniles who were charged with wandering and ordered to reside at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC), Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast, government announced Thursday.

Under the Prerogative of Mercy, the nine girls and two boys, whose ages range from 13 to 17 years, were pardoned with effect from Thursday, 20th December, 2018.

Wandering is no longer a criminal offence under the Juvenile Justice Act that was passed by the National Assembly in April 2018 and replaced the colonial era Juvenile Offenders Act.

The Guyanese leader on Wednesday granted pardons to three female prisoners who were serving sentences at the New Amsterdam Prison.

The three female inmates who were expected to be released Thursday were Ms. Joanna Beckles, who was charged with forgery and sentenced to nine months in prison; Ms. Felicia Henry, who was charged with larceny of cash and sentenced to 18 months in prison and Ms. Keysha Gibbs, who was charged with break and enter and larceny and sentenced to 36 months in prison.

Last December the Head of State granted Presidential Pardons to five women who were serving sentences for non-violent, non-narcotic offences.  Article 188 (1) (a) of the Constitution states that “The President may grant to any person concerned in or convicted of any offence under the laws of Guyana, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions”.

The conditions outlined in the Constitution were met and the Head of State had the requisite consultations with the Minister of Public Security, government said.

“It is the President’s wish to see mothers at home with their children especially during the Christmas season and as such, women who are charged with non-violent crimes and fit the requisite conditions are eligible for a Presidential pardon,” the Ministry of the Presidency said.