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The Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (ACPM) is a new body established under sections 39 and 40 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009. Its function is to advise H.E the Governor on whether or not to grant prisoners or other applicants mercy in the form of pardon, respite, a substitute sentence, or remission. Although the Governor is bound to consult the committee when making these decisions, the choice of whether to exercise these powers or not is at his/her sole discretion.

The current members of the ACPM are Mr. Martyn Roper, OBE,Governor, Mr. Sam Bulgin QC, JP, Attorney General, Dr. John Lee, Chief Medical Officer, Mr. Stanwick Myles, Cert. Hon, Mr. Arek Joseph, O.B.E., Mr. Carlon Powery, MBE and Mrs. Cheryl Reid Al Masri.

Under the 1972 Constitution, the Governor applied very similar powers. What is new in the 2009 Constitution is the provision that H.E. the Governor must consult the ACPM whenever they are exercised.

It is important for the public and for those incarcerated in Her Majesties Prisons to understand how the ACPM relates to any other body dealing with parole or conditional release from prison, given the power of the Governor under section 39 of the Constitution to “remit the whole or any part of any sentence”.

There is a potential for misunderstanding on this matter because since the enactment of Prison Law, 1975, remission of sentences in the form of parole has been granted by the Governor, acting on the advice of the Parole Board. On this basis, prisoners are routinely advised of the earliest day of their eligibility to apply for parole by the Prison authorities. It is important that the ACPM is not viewed as an appellant body for those who are not granted parole.

The ACPM is entirely separate from any other body established to administer parole or conditional release from prison. This assumption rests on several references in sections 39 and 40 of the 2009 Constitution:-

The essential function of this committee is to grant “mercy” which suggests an extraordinary action in contrast to the more frequent or routine decisions about parole.

The presence of the Chief Medical Officer infers that the decisions, on occasions, made about prisoners will depend heavily on their unusual medical condition and go well beyond routine decisions about parole.

Acting on the advice of the committee, the Governor may set aside a sentence imposed by the courts. The presence of the Attorney General implies that his is a very unusual action in relation to the two other branches of government and must be extraordinary rather than routine.

It is not a function of the Committee to:

·         Erase or expunge a conviction

·         Clear convictions to allow persons to obtain Visas/Waivers for travel

·         Appeal or retrial of court cases

·         Act as an Appeals body to the Parole Board

·         Circumvent a decision made under the Immigration Law

·         Set aside a deportation order or, allow a Prohibited Immigrant to return

Last Updated 2021-01-06