ATTORNEY GENERAL PROMOTES PROCESS TO EXPUNGE CRIMINAL RECORDS FOR MINOR MARIJUANA OFFENCES

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 26, 2020 (SKNIS): Persons with convictions for possession of minor amounts of marijuana – under 56 grams (that’s just under 2 ounces) – are encouraged to apply to have their records expunged to enjoy less hassle when seeking a job, a passport or travel visa.

The passage of the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in the National Assembly of February 12, 2020, made it possible to expunge such records through a simplified process that was hailed by Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr.

The process begins with a visit to the post office to purchase a $10 stamp. The person must then go to the Criminal Records Office at Police Headquarters and fill out a form. This is where the $10 stamp is used. The person then returns the form to the office to complete the process.

“It’s an automatic expungement,” Attorney General Byron Jr. said at a town hall meeting at the McKnight Community Centre on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

However, the senior government official emphasised that persons with other serious convictions will have to apply for expungement under a separate process.

“If it is that you have a more serious crime that you have had in excess of a certain number of years of a conviction, you will have to make an application to a committee that does rehabilitation,” the attorney general said.

Persons convicted of murder, manslaughter, firearm offences, treason, or sexual offences are not eligible to have their records expunged.

Honourable Byron Jr. said the passage of the bill is in keeping with the government’s commitment to enhance participation in the prosperity agenda.

“It gives us all a new lease on life, a second chance to be productive citizens,” he stated, noting that the rule of law will prevail in St. Kitts and Nevis.

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