Gov’t to Expunge Garvey’s Criminal Record

The Government is taking steps to expunge the criminal record of National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, for an offence which he reportedly committed in Jamaica.

This was disclosed by Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who was responding to questions posed by Central Kingston Member of Parliament, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, during Tuesday’s (October 11) sitting of the House of Representatives at Gordon House.

Mr. Chuck said information indicates that Garvey was charged for contempt of court in 1929 after making statements criticising Jamaica’s legal system, which he reportedly described as oppressive.

The Minister said that during preparations by the People’s Political Party to contest the 1930 Legislative Council Elections, Garvey called for laws to punish judges who acted unfairly.

He was convicted following a two-day trial in September 1929, fined £100 and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment in the St. Catherine District Prison. He was subsequently released in December of that year.

The Minister advised that Mr. Garvey received a Royal Pardon in 1984 from late former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Florizel Glasspole, at the request of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.

“However, this pardon, under Section 91 of the Constitution, affects only the sentence and not the conviction. As such, a statutory pardon is required,” Mr. Chuck outlined.

Consequently, the Minister said the Government was “taking steps to effect same”.

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