A recent article published in the Indian website, TFIGlobal.com, about the Greater Caribbean for Life (GCL), requires clarification.
From its libellous title: “A west backed NGO is proposing a change to the Caribbean nations that will render it paralyzed”, to its end, this article is full of lies and gross manipulation of information and needs a response.
GCL was constituted in 2013 and is formed and governed exclusively by people from the Caribbean.
Our organisation comprises 52 individuals and 18 organisations from 17 different countries in the Greater Caribbean.
We are proud to be part of the global abolitionist movement. There are similar organisations in every region of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe. As part of a global civil society movement, we collaborate constantly with other organisations that share our goals.
For example, early this month we co-sponsored, with more than 230 other individuals and organisations, a letter to Canada, the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, requesting leaders in these regions to set up a joint accountability mechanism for rapid collective action to help halt the execution of detained protesters in Iran.
It would do those at TFGlobal well to research the views of organisations such as The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in relation to the value of International Solidarity.
GCL plans to continue cooperating with others to achieve our common goal of abolishing capital punishment globally. The global trend is towards abolition. According to the UN, 170 out of 193 UN Member States have either abolished the death penalty in law or practice or introduced a moratorium on the application of the death penalty.
GCL’s decisions and strategies are determined solely by us, committed and responsible citizens and organisations from different Caribbean countries, working together to end State executions.
To imply that we in the Caribbean are being used by a foreign/Western agenda, erroneously assumes that Caribbean people do not have the ability, by ourselves, to engage in a struggle against this barbaric violation of human rights. We vehemently reject this assumption which is downright disrespectful and insulting.
The author stated that “one must not forget that the death penalty acts as a deterrent as well”. There is no empirical evidence to show that capital punishment for murder reduces homicides and violence. This argument for the death penalty is based on opinions and misconceptions rather than facts.
On 23rd February 2021, the UN’s Human Rights Council held “its biennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty, with a focus on human rights violations related to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to whether the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime rate.”
Michelle Bachelet, UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that there is no evidence that the death penalty deterred crime more effectively than any other punishment. Other panellists noted that “there was no evidence that the use of the death penalty had a deterrent effect on crimes.”
A study published on 2012 by the National Academies Press of the United States concluded that “the committee finds that adequate justifications have not been provided to demonstrate that the various time-series-based studies of capital punishment speak to the deterrence question. It is thus immaterial whether the studies purport to find evidence in favour or against deterrence. They do not rise to the level of credible evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment as a determinant of aggregate homicide rates and are not useful in evaluating capital punishment as a public policy.” (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2012), Deterrence and the Death Penalty)
Even in India, where TFIGlobal published its article, a recent study ended with a similar conclusion: “It cannot be argued with empirical evidence that the deterrence of death is productive. In general, however, since the deterrent theory of punishment is based on threat of punishment deterring future crime, it must objectively deter as the threat to life is the greatest threat of all. Since no correlation could be found between the rate of crime and the death penalty, the only other way to find out the same is by measuring the crime not committed because of the death penalty, which is impossible to quantify.” (Shyam, Ashwathi (October 2021), Does Death Deter? A Critical Analysis of the Need of Capital Punishment in India).
“It is to be noted that in 1999, when Dole Chadee and 8 members of his gang were hanged over a 3-day period in Trinidad and Tobago, the following year, murders rose by 30 per cent”, declared Leela Ramdeen, GCL’s Chair. “In St Kitts in 2008, Charles la Place was the last person hanged in the Caribbean region. His hanging did not lead to a reduction in murders. Rather than baying for blood, it will be more productive for our leaders to consider the root causes of crime and work to develop effective long-term solutions that will be more conducive to building safe, just, and peaceful societies in our region”, also indicated Ramdeen.
As stated recently by Khaleem Ali, member of GCL’s Executive Committee from Trinidad and Tobago: “The death penalty has plagued our statute books for too long. It is time that it be struck from the record. Societies continue to champion democracy, human rights and freedoms, yet cling to colonial penalties. As young people, we demand the needed change from our politicians. We call on them to revise how persons are punished for crimes and demand a more modern, holistic and practical approach – with a shift away from retribution to restoration/transformation”.
We invite TFIGlobal, and any other organisation, from the Caribbean or outside, to engage in a productive dialogue about effective strategies to end crime and violence in our countries.
Any such dialogue must be based on sound arguments and good faith, not with lies and manipulation of information.
SOURCE: Greater Caribbean for Life (Press release updated to correct the name of the organisation which is TFIGlobal and not TFGlobal as previously stated)