Gonsalves promises ‘Year of Mercy’ prisoner release

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.

A number of prisoners who are incarcerated for minor offenses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be released as part of the island’s 37th Independence Anniversary, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced.

Gonsalves said he intends to advise the governor general to order the release of some young men and women who are serving terms of imprisonment for “relatively minor offences,” saying the young people ought to be given a second chance, considering this is the internationally proclaimed “Year of Mercy” by persons of faith.

“We ought to exercise it appropriately to deal with young persons and others,” he said.

The prime minister also announced that some 110 people who are employed as temporary clerks — some of them for several years in the public service— will be afforded permanent status from Jan. 1, 2017, claiming the move would provide them with the necessary job security and attendant benefits as public servants.

He added students who passed the associate degree program at the required level of the Community College will be rewarded.

This, he said, will cost the Government more than EC$5 million.

Gonsalves said for the 2017–2018 academic year, the government will grant tuition scholarships to deserving applicants for university study and will continue to pay the economic cost got all eligible students at the University of the West Indies.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines celebrated its 37th independence anniversary on Oct. 27, 2016.

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