Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Free some inmates to mark Emancipation

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I express my disappointment with the way in which this country has, for the last decade or more, gone about celebrating what is supposedly one of the most important national holidays on our local calendar.

Whatever the reason for the seeming lack of interest in Emancipation events requires a serious and detailed looking into by all concerned.


The Government should set up an advisory committee whose main function would be to look into all cases of inmates now serving time in Jamaica's two main correctional facilities - Spanish Town and Tower Street - in particular, those who have fulfilled their debt to society or are otherwise considered deserving of clemency, and to make the appropriate recommendation to the governor general for his pardon and release of these inmates from state custody.

This act of pardon should be seen as a symbolic gesture by the State in keeping with the spirit of the Emancipation Day celebration each year.

I further propose that this gesture be done as a nationally televised event, much like the National Honours and Awards, with the families, friends, and well-wishers of those to be granted this special privilege being allowed to attend and for the wider Jamaican population to witness the reunion of these inmates with their loved ones.

I am firmly of the belief that separate and apart from helping to reduce overcrowding in the country's main penal institutions, this act of state pardon would serve to bring about a greater level of appreciation and recognition for those who paid with their lives to give us the freedom that many of us today take for granted.