Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 01, 2017 (SKNIS): This year, the Dr. Harris-led Team Unity Administration will take steps to rectify the overcrowding condition at Her Majesty’s Prison in Basseterre.
Principal Officer with the Prison, Desmond Solace, reported that at the end of 2016 there were 183 inmates incarcerated or detained at Her Majesty’s Prison in Basseterre and 21 were at the Nevis Prison Farm.
In his 2017 New Year’s Day Address to the nation, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris announced that the Committee of the Prerogative of Mercy will be activated early this year.
In his address, Prime Minister Harris said the new committee “will consider appeals for clemency for several inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison who have spent a significant amount of time in custody.”
This announcement follows a decision that was taken when the Federal Cabinet met on November 17, 2016. In a Post-Cabinet briefing following that meeting, it was reported that Cabinet considered a submission to set up a Committee of the Prerogative of Mercy so that long-serving prisoners who are deserving, could if necessary, get reprieve.
The recommendations were forwarded to the Governor General for him to take the necessary actions.
“Compassion and mercy are important attributes of our judicial system and it is important that our response to crime be proportionate,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Dr. Harris further stated that his administration will review its policy framework “so that we tackle more effectively those factors that cause our young people to become disengaged from society”.
“Our National Drugs Council will pursue anti-drugs programming in order to prevent criminality and the harming of our young people. Every effort will be made to increase the participation of our young people in the peace and prosperity of our Country. We shall take training, job attachment and job support to a higher level with the inauguration of the STEP. This will allow for a more effective and efficient delivery of genuine skills training and empowerment programmes,” said Prime Minister Harris in his address.