THERE has been no Cabinet approval that shows the Government of Trinidad and Tobago agreed to free 50 prisoners by the end of 2012 as part of the country's jubilee Independence celebration.
Speaking with members of the media at the launch of Vision on Mission's Turning of the Heart and Soil project in Wallerfield yesterday, Minister of Justice Christlyn Moore said as far as she knew, no Cabinet note exists allowing for such a move.
On June 21 last year, at a post-Cabinet media briefing, then justice minister Herbert Volney announced: "The Government is going to announce, in the fullness of time, the pardon of 50 persons to commemorate the country's 50th anniversary of Independence."
On Thursday, Volney said the Mercy Committee met three times to discuss the matter and had approved 17 people, in keeping with the announcement.
Moore, a day earlier, said she had no intention of fulfilling such a mandate, which is not in keeping with the Government's policy.
"My understanding is that from all parties concerned, this was the minister's fervent wish; it was his hope, it was his dream, it was his baby, and it was not a decision of the Cabinet, and I felt it was no need for it to be a decision of the Cabinet. What I can say is that I have seen no note to that effect," Moore said.
When told that the announcement was made at a post-Cabinet media briefing last June, Moore said she had not seen any Cabinet note to verify this.
Told that Volney suggested anyone who does not carry out a Cabinet mandate be sacked or reprimanded, Moore replied: "The former minister has made some unfortunate utterances in the public domain and that would have been the latest one, but there is no Cabinet note that I have found, and I have looked. There is no Cabinet note to that effect."
Attempts to contact Volney were unsuccessful. • See Page 20