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President pardons several jailed women for Christmas

President David Granger announcing the pardon of the 11 women for Christmas 2015.

President David Granger has announced the pardon of several women convicted for non-violent offences and that they are expected to be released from prison on Monday.

Speaking on his weekly television programme, Public Interest, the Guyanese leader said he exercised his compassion in pardoning 11 women who were convicted and imprisoned for non-violent, narcotics and trafficking in persons.

“My emphasis is on women, women who are mothers and also parents of young children. I want them to be home for Christmas,” he said.

The President said he intended to begin a tradition of pardoning men on each Independence anniversary and women at Christmas. At the same time, he warned that pardoned persons who end up in jail would have to stay behind bars until the end of their sentences. “They would make themselves ineligible in my eyes for release again. I am not a sort of perpetual releaser. If given an opportunity and they waste the opportunity, then they will serve the time,” he said.

In apparent reference to critics of his decision to pardon non-violent critics, he said he receives advice from the Ministry of Public Security and so his decision is “not arbitrary.” He said plans are in train to provide rehabilitation services for pardoned prisoners.

“I do feel that if a person remains in jail too long, he or she will become a habitual or repetitive offender whereas if he was given a chance to make a turnaround in his life  and follow a good career, a useful career,” he said

The President was asked what happens to the victims, from whom-for example-their cellular phones have been stolen- to which he responded that the convicts would have a stained record when they apply for jobs.