With American rapper Lil’ Wayne about to be pardoned by president Donald Trump, Jamaicans and fans of Dancehall and Reggae Music are asking if it is possible for Vybz Kartel to be granted a pardon by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness.
Like the United States, Jamaica also have the concept of a pardon in their justice system, however, the pardon cannot be granted by the Prime Minister, instead that power rests with the Governor General of the country and such decision would need to be blessed by the Privy Council in the United Kingdom..
So if Vybz Kartel is hoping for a pardon he would have to submit and appeal to Sir Patrick Allen who is the island’s current Governor General. In order for one to request a pardon they have to first admit to the charge and show remorse for the same. So if a person is in any kind of appeal whether in the local courts or at the Privy Council level, they are not eligible to beg for a pardon.
Section 90 of the Jamaican Constitution states that: “The sovereign, and by extension the governor-general, also exercises the prerogative of mercy and may pardon offences either before, during, or after a trial. In the exercise of the powers conferred on him, however, the governor general shall act on the recommendation of the Privy Council.”
So even if the Governor General should grant a pardon to Vybz Kartel, it could be overruled by the Privy Council. The Privy Council can also be overruled by the Governor General which is a check and balance put in place to maintain the integrity of the justice system within the English monarchy.
Vybz Kartel case is already on its way to the Privy Council. The council could decide that there were errors in the deejays murder case and order a mistrial or they could find there were no problems with the way the case was conducted. If they find that there were no problems that could also grant mercy on Kartel in the way of a pardon but he Governor General would also have to agree to the pardon.
Likewise, Vybz Kartel could beg for mercy directly from the Governor General without even going to the Privy Council, however, for the pardon to be granted the Governor General would have to get the blessings of the Privy Council.
Vybz Kartel continues to serve a life sentence for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.