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Give us a second chance- HMP inmate Kareem Simon appeals

- Call supported by MfEC in message to House of Healing & Anger Management graduates
HMP inmates Keon Edwards (left) and Kareem Simon were supported by several other prison inmates in their call for a second chance when they return to society. Photo: VINO
Some of the HMP inmates who joined the call to be pardoned by society. Photo: VINO
Some of the HMP inmates who joined the call to be pardoned by society. Photo: VINO
Inmates said one of the benefits of participating in the House of Healing and Anger Management programmes was how to be a team player as they worked together to accomplish many things. Photo: VINO
Inmates said one of the benefits of participating in the House of Healing and Anger Management programmes was how to be a team player as they worked together to accomplish many things. Photo: VINO
It was a very emotional moment and many eyes were filled with tears as inmate Ramon Geroge did his version of the song 'I believe I can fly'. Photo: VINO
It was a very emotional moment and many eyes were filled with tears as inmate Ramon Geroge did his version of the song 'I believe I can fly'. Photo: VINO
Keon Edwards is currently serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter while Kareem Simon is serving a 10-year sentence for invading the Road Town Police Station in November 2010. Photo: VINO/File
Keon Edwards is currently serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter while Kareem Simon is serving a 10-year sentence for invading the Road Town Police Station in November 2010. Photo: VINO/File
BALSUM GHUT, Tortola, VI – Kareem Simon took a bold and conscious stand in appealing to members of the Virgin Islands community to give him and other inmates a second chance at being productive citizens when they return to society after serving time at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsum Ghut, Tortola.

It was the occasion of the Ministry for Education and Culture in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Prison closing exercise for the House of Healing and Anger Management group counseling programmes. Simon and several other inmates, through various art forms, poetry, singing, recital among others, voiced their calls to be supported and given a second chance upon their release.

In an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online, Kareem Simon who is serving a 10-year sentence for invading the Road Town Police Station in November 2010 made his appeal. “Everybody makes mistakes, some of us make very bad mistakes like I did and others who are in here and others that are forgiven at other levels, but even the worse of us can be turned around and that is the one thing that being locked away in here has done for me,” said a humble Simon.

Not hesitating to highlight the harsh realities of having to live ten years of his life behind bars, he said that he want to return to society and do what he knows to do best- graphic designing and disc jockeying (DJ). “I like my music thing, I really want to get back into that area when I get out and the only way that can happen for me is if my people out there find it in their hearts to forgive me and give me another chance,” he reasoned.

One of his positive contributions at the prison recently was to design a logo for t-shirts for all the members of the graduating group of the House of Healing and Anger Management programmes, which he is very proud after having done an excellent job at designing the logo.

Meanwhile, the talents displayed by inmates who participated in the programmes were of an extremely high standard and brought out the fact that in the worst of us there is so much good, a thought that was also expressed by Counsellor of the Programme, Reverend Selwyn L. Vanterpool during his address on Tuesday September 17, 2013.

Speaking of the benefits of the House of Healing programme, inmate Keon Edwards also joined his colleges in promising to take a better path in life when returning to society. He said he entered the programme as a pastime activity while imprisoned but learnt a lesson that would take him through the rest of his life. “You can be in prison but your mind does not have to be imprisoned.”

He credited his participation in the programme for bringing him to the realisation that he is a child of God and is someone of worth. He said, among other things, that he has learnt the importance of listening, not to judge others and that there is some good in everyone. “I also learned being man is knowing when and how to forgive and say sorry,” Edwards said.

Key in his message and a statement which brought him a loud round of applause was when he said, “Walking away from a fight does not mean you are a coward, it takes a real man to walk away.”

Edwards further said, “I can’t change the past, just learn from it.”

Keon Edwards is currently serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter and said he plans to continue to make good of the time he has left to serve for the crime he has committed. “I am haunted by the fact that I allowed my emotion and false ego to take the better side of me,” he admitted to Virgin Islands News Online.

He also said he regretted that a life was lost by his actions and if there was one thing in life he could have changed would have been that moment. “The person I am today, I would have walked or even run away. This is one thing I have vowed to do, speak out against anger and I would only be able to do so if I am given the chance when I get out and is back with my family and friends.”

Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn was not present at the ceremony but had sent his prepared message, which was read by his Permanent Secretary Dr Marcia Potter. In that message he also called for a second chance for prison inmates.

“I want to take this opportunity this afternoon to appeal to the general community, but in particular the business community, to partner with us as we help these young people to prepare to re-engage in our community… We need the help of the community to engage these young people as they prepare to give back to the community in service and then to take up active jobs on release,” Hon. Walwyn wrote.

13 Responses to “Give us a second chance- HMP inmate Kareem Simon appeals”

  • Concern 1 (20/09/2013, 08:38) Like (8) Dislike (12) Reply
    Many people are only criminals when they are caught but there are many out their who are big time crimanals and not been caught but it is how Society looks at things. It is for us to pardon these people and accept wholly in to hearts and not into our heads and mouths.
  • rattie (20/09/2013, 08:52) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    I believe in second changes but the life he took cannot returned
  • cry (20/09/2013, 10:30) Like (2) Dislike (80) Reply
    too late shall be thy cry
    • Couple (22/09/2013, 12:54) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      It was a choice between Oxtail and Pork vs, Bitter Medicine..taking any one's life is where the line is drwn
  • JACK BE STILL (20/09/2013, 11:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope he seek jesus for forgivness
    • Well Sah (20/09/2013, 12:17) Like (1) Dislike (17) Reply
      And Who is Jesus and where can he be found????? Do you have his number and address????
      • Research (21/09/2013, 03:43) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        The phrase "well sah" is actually dialect for "Well Sir" which draws reference to the same God that you seem to not believe in
    • scratching head (20/09/2013, 14:55) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      And what good will that do?
  • J.T (20/09/2013, 15:05) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    CHECK OUT HOTMESS MAN DOING UR THING PROUD OF YA!!!
  • Hmm (20/09/2013, 15:36) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    I wonder if Bitey can ask for a second chance of the life Keon stole.....
  • 2nd chances (20/09/2013, 20:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We all get second, third, fourth and the list goes on with the number of chances we all get. For some, the consequences of our actions are more severe and so we should all be thankful that we may not receive the full punishment for what we do. That said, we must be a society that forgives.....if no one ever forgave you when you lied, cheated etc what kind of world would we live in......just a thought!
  • Sad but True (22/09/2013, 15:55) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    The only second chance Mr Simon is getting is a ticket back to Antigua...Sad but true


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