Teens held at NOC for ‘simple larceny’ pardoned by President
Two inmates of the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) were granted early release from President David Granger in commemoration of the country’s 53rd Independence Anniversary.
The presidential pardons were done by virtue of the powers vested in him under Article 188 (1) (a) and 188 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana, the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.
Article 188 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Guyana states that the President has the power to grant any person concerned in, or convicted of, any offence under the laws of Guyana, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful condition.
The two pardon beneficiaries were serving sentences for simple larceny. The President ordered their release with effect from May 26, 2019, so that they can be re-integrated into their families.
This is the third set of pardons granted to inmates of the NOC by the Head of State. Back in September 2017, he had released five female students, ranging from ages 13 to 16.
Then in December of that year, another eight inmates received presidential pardons in time for the Christmas holidays. This was repeated again in 2018 when 11 more NOC students – nine females and two males between the ages of 13 and 17 – benefited from presidential pardons and were released early ahead of the Christmas holiday last year.
During a June 2017 visit to the correctional facility, President Granger had indicated that as part of an overall plan to ensure improvements to the physical conditions and the programmes offered, Government will be, in the short term, setting up criteria and a system to ensure that regular early release is an option for those who qualify.
President Granger had noted that his Administration remains focused on education and youth empowerment and strongly believes that children are better off in educational institutions rather than in incarceration or detention.
“Going to school is important for me and staying in school is important for me and it is important for you too, because in whatever you do, you must be able to read, write, spell and count… You must be literate. We cannot build a country with illiterate persons and that is why I want all of you to take your education seriously. It is my vision that you must get the best possible preparation for when you are ready to take over this country,” the President had said to the students.