President David Granger on Friday pardoned two female prisoners for Guyana’s 53rd Independence Anniversary.
The women freed are Bibi Parjohn, 40, and 30-year-old Unique Hope. Parjohn was jailed for larceny while Hope was serving time for forgery.
In a statement on Friday, the Government said that Granger, pursuant to powers under Article 188 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, has granted Presidential Pardons to the two women prisoners, whom he considered “fit and proper” to receive such pardons. The women both served a portion of their sentences.
In 2015, shortly after taking office, the President granted pardon to 60 convicts.
The release of prisoners in 2015 caused much controversy after Government had refused to release the names and offences of those pardoned. Following the pardoning, the Opposition – People’s Progressive Party – through its Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall, submitted on May 24, 2016, questions to the National Assembly and sought to elicit from Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan the names, addresses, offences committed and criminal records, length of sentences, process and criteria employed relating to prisoners pardoned by President Granger over the past year.
However, Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs on May 30, 2016, by way of letter, informed Nandlall that in accordance with Standing Order 20 (2), Dr Scotland opined that the questions were an abuse of the right of questioning and as such, they were disallowed. The Speaker did not specify the reason for not allowing the questions.
The President had indicated intentions to release another 60 young men and women in 2016, but this did not materialise.
In 2017, nine women prisoners were pardoned for Guyana’s 47th Republic Anniversary.
The prisoners, who were all inmates at the New Amsterdam penitentiary, were Kamla Bisram, 30; Malinda Beaton, 31; Charissazan Charles, 18; Sasha Christopher, 18; Jenny Davis, 26; Vanessa Frank, 26; Barbra Hunte, 51; Kamwattie Persaud, 23 and Dhanmattie Seenarine, 47.