A young Layou resident and ailing former national footballer has been granted early release from prison by the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy.
The Committee, for which Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is Chairman, met recently, and decided to grant 28-year-old shopkeeper Myron Samuel a remission of the remainder of his term of imprisonment, with certain conditions.
Samuel is to report to the Layou police station three times a week; he is not permitted to travel even for medical treatment, without the written permission of the Chairman; further, Samuel is ordered to participate in an ongoing counselling programme given through the Layou Miracle Church, in collaboration with the counselling services of the Ministry of Social Development.
Additionally, if before August 15, 2022, Samuel is convicted of any criminal offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding 12 months, the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy may advise the Governor General to cancel the remission and he will return to Her Majesty’s Prisons(HMP) to serve the remainder of his sentence.
This early release comes after Samuel had, on August 16 at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC), been given a sentence of 18 months in prison for possession of a Glock 22 pistol LNL 144 without a license under the Firearm’s Act.
He was fined $3500 for his illegal possession of 15 rounds of .40mm ammunition, which is to be paid by December 31, which on default carried a nine month prison term.
Samuel’s case drew much attention because the gun and ammunition found in his possession had originated in the Georgetown Police Station armoury which had been burglarised.
Several persons were detained in relation to that burglary. The police, having received certain information, were dispatched to Samuel’s home in Layou on June 17. They were armed with a search warrant. The firearm and ammunition were found in Samuel’s possession, which resulted in him being arrested and charged.
His lawyer, Grant Connell, had mitigated before the court before his client was sentenced that he was a son of the soil” who “from a very early age was spotted as being one of the potential greats for St Vincent.”
Connell also had noted that Samuel has a debilitating and painful disease. “Even with his disease and the possibility of bones collapsing, and the excruciating pain, he still tries to coach young people – encourage them, even in his position, to grow in the sport, one day represent St Vincent…” the lawyer had said.
The counsel had submitted that “behind those walls” Samuel wouldn’t survive.
The former national footballer is no longer behind those walls, and his continued freedom is in his hands.