President urges dispensation of mercy by new Parole Board
President David Granger has urged a new five-member Advisory Council of the Prerogative of Mercy to use
their culture, values and religious persuasion to exercise compassion to incarcerated persons.
The President offered the admonition Wednesday afternoon, after swearing in the five members of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy board at the Ministry of the Presidency.
The Council, guided by the Constitution, will be allowed the opportunity to grant pardon to a convicted prisoner, conditionally or otherwise, or grant a respite of the execution of the punishment imposed. The Council is to advise the President on such matters.
According to President David Granger, Guyana currently needs a quality of mercy that will transform the political culture from what he said has become a “dog eat dog” way of life.
“In Guyana, we need that quality of mercy. We need to transform the political culture. We need to be more compassionate and more merciful. Because if you have a President that is not compassionate and is not capable of extending mercy, what sort of country do you want our children to grow up?
He said the simple ceremony was a representation of the kind of Country Guyanese must live in and the types of relationship each citizen must have
He thanked the group for coming forward, urging them to be fearless despite the inevitable criticisms.
“You must be prepared to bring your culture, your values, your religious faith, your beliefs, your spirit of compassion into the functioning of this Advisory Council. Let those values permeate society. Let the youngsters in school understand that they can be friendly with teachers. Let political parties know that they do not have to be fighting with each other.”
The five-member team includes Carl Hanoman, Justice Duke Pollard, Yvonne Heywood Benn, Merle Mendonca and Justice James Patterson.
Article 188 of the Constitution empowers the President to grant to convicted persons a State pardon – the very act establishes an Advisory Council on the prerogative which is expected to advise the President.
The Prerogative of Mercy is exercised in instances of petition, usually from a convicted person or persons acting on their behalf.