UPP Condemns Unlawful ‘Pardons’ by Attorney-General


The Executive and Membership of the United Progressive Party today condemned the recent decisions of Attorney-General Steadroy Benjamin to release and then re-incarcerate a number of persons serving time at Her Majesty’s Prison.  

The Party said in a statement the party it is committed to upholding the Constitution of this country and deplores the continued attempts of Minister Benjamin to usurp the authority of the Supreme Law of Antigua & Barbuda.

It pointed to Section 84 of the Constitution places both the “Power of Pardon” and the power of remission in the hands of the Governor-General only, and it is instructive that, while the Section speaks to consultation with the Minister, the decision to pardon or to remit rests solely with the Head of State.

The UPP said It was only last June that the Antigua & Barbuda Bar Association reminded the Attorney-General of these Constitutional provisions, and underlined the importance of the separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. 

“This is one of the underpinnings of our democracy, and Minister Benjamin’s continued disregard for the Constitution – whether by misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law – serves only to undermine our system of government,” the party press release said.

The party added, “the UPP feels a large degree of empathy for the victims – and for the families of those victimized by the inmates – and can only imagine the fear and distress the prisoners’ untoward release must have caused.

The party also expressed its disappointment that, “up to now, there has been no condemnation of the Attorney-General’s unlawful actions by the Prime Minister or his Cabinet colleagues. 

“It is our position that the entire country is owed an apology for the reckless decisions of Minister Benjamin.”

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  1. I am very disturb at these developments, not so much the pardoning of inmates, but the manner in which it is done that has lead to such turmoil and confusion. Something is obviously wrong with the system and corrective measures need to be taken such that when action is taken that all can be happy and satisfied that due process was followed. I think we have developed a culture of secrecy and it is this secrecy that is poisoning this nation. Whilst I do not know the laws as it relates to the granting of clemency, it seems clear that something was not right with the recent actions taken. It seem like in its haste to get some positive PR and mileage, the proper procedures were not taken, hence this big goof. When prisoners are being considered for very early release, there ought to be some consultation and input by the public. The feelings of affected family members on both sides of the debate must also be considered. Lets stop being so secretive about these matters and avoid the embarrassment of in again, out again and in again that this has caused.

  2. The Governor General seems to be only the yes man and the signature man for the ABLP. The PM and AG seem to be the only power and authority in the government.

  3. Now that we have the political side, lets hear from the BAR Association on this issue. This is not a political issue. We need to trash this out. I do not like it at all. If I commit murder and get in jail, short of getting the death penalty it should not matter whether or not I behave good to be let out early. What do you expect murders will do. Behave bad. Sorry Mr. Benjamin but you should not have listened to the prison boss on this. he seems to have grown an affinity with his inmates. I guess he spend to long among them.

  4. Lovell trying his best to gain political mileage. Smh. Soon he will try to politicize the Dengue fever

  5. Is that Lovell sitting there with grey hair? What is this? I haven’t seen him for a long time, but man he age out. Sad to see. Retirement time.

  6. something is seriously wrong with the way antigua is been run right now. how can a person who kill someone in a murder robbery can be consider for early release 3 yrs after he was sentence. in the first place he should never be given the chance to plea guilty to man slaughter. it’s murder full stop. in the USA he would never see the streets again.

  7. and while on that topic what happen to those guys from Barbuda that murder those people on the hatch since 1993 or 1994. did any of them consider for pardon. I guess not it’s tourist they kill. hypocrisy in the highest order. the police dude kill a local gas station worker so it’s cool. really?

  8. Real countries have a parole board of at least 5 officials where the victims families have an say on early prisoner releases.
    In joke town two public officials can collude and set free anyone from prison they deem fit. Even if one of the public officials is the same lawyer that represented the prisoner no recusals or safeguards in place under the law. Murder!!!!!
    And we have the nerve to boast about our justice system. Please tell me this is a joke.

  9. Ok. Like every right thinking individual, I also think this is ONE MORE CAUSE FOR CONCERN,.
    However, do you think they really care?
    I assume this is just another ” oh well, so what ? Moving right along to another malfeasance? ”
    I have being through arl de governments in this country, but dis one teck de kake on ebbryting back to front.

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