November 18, 2016
Four prisoners granted early release Tuesday

Four prisoners who had been given relatively short terms of imprisonment for minor offences were released early on Tuesday.

Deroy Nero, Leroy Alexander, Mark Edwards and Keith Labbon are now free men, after spending a few months at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility.{{more}}

Nero, 25, was handed a six-month sentence on September 7, 2016 for theft of 23 dry coconuts at Owia. Alexander, 60, was also handed a six-month sentence on July 15, 2016 after he breached a year-long bond. Edwards, 17, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on June 27, 2016 for stealing a bicycle.

Labbon, 44, was handed a nine-month sentence on June 3, 2016 for stealing 19 dry coconuts. A fifth prisoner was also set to be released; however, he was detained for not paying a fine and did so last Friday.

The release of the four prisoners came after Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced during his Independence Day address on October 27 that he intends to advise His Excellency the Governor General to order the release of some young men and women who are serving terms of imprisonment for relatively minor offences.

“I consider that in all the circumstances that these young persons ought to be given a second chance. This is the internationally-proclaimed Year of Mercy by people of faith, and we ought to exercise it appropriately to these young persons and others,” Gonsalves said.

Superintendent of the Prisons Brenton Charles told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that there may be other releases before year-end. (AS)