GG unhappy with ‘false’ report on Mercy Committee

Sir Elliott Belgrave addressing the students at Westbury Primary School.
Sir Elliott Belgrave has spoken out in defence of the Mercy Committee

Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave Friday issued a stern warning to the media as he took the unusual move of criticizing recent “false” news reports about the work of the Mercy Committee.

As he wrapped up his speech during an official visit to the Christ Church Girls’ School, Sir Elliott expressed his displeasure at a recent newspaper article, which he said was not only false, but may have prejudiced the case of a prison inmate.

The article claimed that members of the local Privy Council’s Mercy Committee had been conducting interviews in one community to ascertain the views of residents about the possible early release of convicted murderer, Arleigh Hector James.

“Recently there have been a lot of chatter in the press concerning the work of the Privy Council, they call it the Mercy Committee. What I don’t agree with is that when you criticize you must make sure that your facts are facts, because one of the articles that I take exception to seeks to give the impression that members of the Privy Council go into districts to investigate cases which might come before the Privy Council for dispensation of mercy.

“Members of the Privy Council do not do that. We don’t go out in any community seeking for information. So if anybody went out there doing that it could not be members of the Privy Council,” he said.

The Governor General further rubbished claims that James, who was sentenced in May 1994 for the murder of Debra James and Sabrina Arlington, had applied for clemency.

He said that the report might have jeopardized James’ chance for a fair hearing before the Mercy Committee.

“The face which was highlighted . . . as being ripe for early remission of sentence was never before the Privy Council. It was never there and putting the inmate’s name in the press when there was no petition for him before the Privy Council was a little prejudicial to his case if at any time one should be sent up.

“So the first thing that they should do is to get their facts right and don’t seek to prejudice unfairly the case of a man who has not yet applied to the Privy Council for clemency,” Sir Elliott stressed.

The Governor General, who heads the Mercy Committee, pointed out that under the Constitution, the Mercy Committee dispenses the Royal prerogative.

He said the body includes the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and other members, even as he took issue with the article for revealing the name of a member of the committee.

“The members are not usually made public because you don’t want them to be harassed by anybody, but the press chose to mention names and mentioned a name of a person who was a member of the council. So that is sort of the thing that makes me unhappy.” 

16 Responses to GG unhappy with ‘false’ report on Mercy Committee

  1. lennox hewitt April 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Well as ya no it is on social media and we comment on it so deal with the media not commentaters but we still in happy wid dem men out before time cause dem out n people still dead so thats my apinion thats my rights to be for or against

    Reply
  2. Lisa April 16, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    The Royal prerogative? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Reply
  3. harry turnover April 16, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    ….. the report might have jeopardized James’ chance for a fair hearing before the Mercy Committee.
    A FAIR HEARING BEFORE THE MERCY COMMITTEE ……FOR WHAT ???………the man BEHEADED TWO PEOPLE and went looking FOR A THIRD and you talking bout a fair hearing ?? leh de MURDERER STAN WEY HE IS …..leh de Warders up de gi he a fair hearing whenever he talks

    Reply
  4. Stanton Peace
    Stanton Peace April 16, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    sir,at a primary school is certainly not the place to discuss this stressing issue,you should have called a press conference and speak to the country on this most important issue,seems like you are learning from the PM.

    Reply
    • Nikolaos Yarde
      Nikolaos Yarde April 16, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Or say nothing

      Reply
    • Bajan Voice April 17, 2016 at 4:08 am

      Agreed, that’s certainly NOT the place to bring this up.Terrible choice, you MUST lead by example sir.

      Reply
  5. Ivy-Anne Duke
    Ivy-Anne Duke April 17, 2016 at 4:28 am

    These reports are only false when they get caught and looking to backtrack FAST

    Reply
  6. Menace II Babylon April 17, 2016 at 7:28 am

    What purpose does this prehistoric relic serve in the minds of the youth of Barbados. No one cares what you have yo say as you represent an era of colonists where Massa ruled our land. They still do but it’s not in your face, do a survey and go on any block, any secondary school and enquire how your so called subjects feel about you, your role and what you represent. Stupppppppessss so much things happening in our land who wants to hear an old turtle that pops his head out for centurions, gets paid enormous money for doing nothing. Sack that post as he brings no benefit to the lives of ordinary bajans…….. You have no right to speak on things that pertain to us…… Go tell your Massa……..

    Reply
  7. Menace II Babylon April 17, 2016 at 7:29 am

    As a people we are very vengeful. if you do the time you deserve to be free. Is that not the purpose of rehabilitation….?

    Reply
  8. Verses from Within - Poetry
    Verses from Within - Poetry April 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Verses from within is a lovely book of poems- it is now available on Kobo.

    Reply
  9. CHARM April 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I agree with you Stanton peace. It certainly wasn’t the time or place for his statements

    Reply
  10. seagul April 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    The economy of the islands with the cost of living is getting higher and higher—the price of fuel, gas food. The educational system is failing our children. This reality as it is only leads to violence, so let’s clasp our hands and souls together. Let’s work towards a more social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive and expansive society, and is founded by persons desiring to do the utmost to work for the general uplift of the people. With that being said——— I get angry when I see that word sir–empire; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves. So–in the spirit of the sons of Malcolm, Mandela. Martin, L’Overture, Marley there is no integrity or respect given to any leader which signifies that such…..

    .

    Reply
  11. recoanthony April 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    U KNOW THIS SAME MAN GAVE 5 ROBERS 15 20 20 20 20 YEARS APIECE FOR FOBBING AH BANK, NOW HERE TALKING FOOLISHNESS…BUT I’M NOT SUPPRISE….AN LOOK AH PRIMARY SCHOOL, THATS WHAT BIM AT

    Reply
  12. recoanthony April 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I NEVER HEAR IN ALL MY 51 SO MUCH MURDERERS, ACCUSE OF GOT RELEASE, OR OUT ON BAIL, I SAW PILLE HERE COMPLAINING THAT OVER 30 ON DE LOOSE GG TEK SOME SHAME

    Reply
  13. Mark Fenty April 18, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Seagul

    I don’t see how the education system in Barbados is failing our children, when Barbados ranks fourth internationally?

    Reply
  14. recoanthony May 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    MAY BE ITS NOT EDUCATION THATS FAILING, ITS COMMON SENSE THATS LACKING DOING ALL DE DAMAGE

    Reply

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