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Greater Caribbean For Life Says Death Penalty Cruel, Inhumane & Ineffective

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The use of the death penalty has been a controversial topic for many years, and the recent call by a section of the TT Business Community for the resumption of hanging in Trinidad and Tobago has sparked widespread debate and concern.

We, as a society, must reject this call for the use of the death penalty as a means of promoting justice.

The death penalty is a cruel, inhumane, and ineffective form of punishment that has no place in a civilised society such as our own!

Leela Ramdeen, GCL’s Chair, says: “There is no evidence that the death penalty has any unique deterrent effect on serious crime. Research on this matter has revealed that the certainty of being caught, arrested and convicted within a reasonable time are more likely to act as a deterrent.

Frank Friel, Former Head of Organized Crime Homicide Task Force, Philadelphia, rightly says: ‘The death penalty does little to prevent crime. It’s the fear of apprehension and the likely prospect of swift and certain punishment that provides the largest deterrent to crime.’ I recall that at the opening of the Law Term on 16 September 2015, TT’s Chief Justice,  Mr Justice Ivor Archie O.R.T.T., said: “… Common sense tells me that by itself the death penalty is not the solution. Apart from the dubiousness of its value as a deterrent.”

The last time the death penalty was carried out in Trinidad and Tobago was in 1999.

Crime statistics from 1999 going forward show an increase in violent crime (namely, murders) in Trinidad and Tobago. It is plain to see that the evidence only highlights its ineffectiveness.

The Privy Council ruled in Pratt and Morgan (1993),  that a period of more than five years’ delay in carrying out a death sentence after conviction, constitutes cruel and inhuman punishment.

Since then, in a number of cases, the Privy Council has raised the bar higher and higher, making it virtually impossible to carry out the death penalty in our region.

There are more than 1,200 persons waiting on Remand in TT for their murder trials. And remember, the death penalty does not address the increased spate of robberies, burglaries, home invasions and other violent crimes that do not result in murder.

GCL looks forward to the outcome of the Caricom symposium titled: Violence as a Public Health issue: The crime challenge, scheduled to take place in TT on Monday 17 and Tues 18 April, 2023.

GCL agrees with the view expressed by Dr Amery Browne, TT’s Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, that this symposium is an important step toward finding solutions to address crime on all fronts in the region – solutions, he says,  that include “evidence-based strategies and interventions that involve the widest range of stakeholders in our societies.”

The causes of crime are complex and multi-faceted.

Inter alia, they include poverty, social exclusion, corruption, deficiencies in our judicial and education systems, and in other key institutions in TT, the breakdown of the family,  male underachievement, the prevalence of drugs, guns, gangs, and so on.

In the face of these social ills, TT, and indeed, our Caricom neighbours, must ensure that our approach to crime prevention and crime reduction is multi-faceted and coordinated.

There is an urgent need for a robust, comprehensive,  data-driven crime plan that includes evidence-based initiatives that address the root causes of crime and provide opportunities for individuals to turn their lives around or never resort to interacting with criminal elements or turning to crime in the first place.

Khaleem Ali, GCL’s Executive Member, says: “The focus for approaching crime and violence in the Caribbean should be on retooling and adopting more modern approaches to policing, crime fighting and  other deterrents with emphasis on: proper border control to limit the chances of drugs and guns from entering our current porous borders, and cleaning up the judicial backlog to promote meaningful justice whereby persons are actually caught, convicted and rehabilitated. Holding a “big stick” over the criminal element does NOTHING to actually instill trust in the minds of citizens when our detection rate remains abysmally low.  It is a mere band-aid which cannot begin to control the blood flow. Furthermore, the death penalty has been shown to disproportionately affect marginalised communities and those without access to effective legal representation, namely impoverished persons. This is unacceptable and goes against the very principles of justice and fairness.”

As a society, we must prioritise the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals who have committed crimes, rather than resorting to the barbaric practice of execution to deter it.

We must invest in our justice system to ensure that it is fair and equitable for all. We must focus on the root causes of crime. Only then can we truly address the issues that encourage and foster a culture of criminality.

The Greater Caribbean for Life rejects any call made to utilise the death penalty and calls on the government of Trinidad and Tobago to direct its attention to evidence-based, data-driven solutions to effectively combat crime and balance it with the interests of justice.

Greater Caribbean for Life (GCL) is an independent, not-for-profit civil society organisation, incorporated in 2014. Our entity is composed by 70 members (individuals and organisation) from 18 countries of the Caribbean.

GCL’s main objective is to campaign for and work towards the permanent abolition of the death penalty in the Greater Caribbean and to support Caribbean abolitionist activists and organizations in this region.

SOURCE: Greater Caribbean For Life

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15 COMMENTS

  1. We need the death penalty in St. Lucia. This will help curb the criminal activities in this country presently. Right now, the criminals have realized nothing much is happening, so they capitalize on this. HANG THEM.

  2. The death penalty will provide relief where once executed, that’s one less criminal who can escape to prey on society again. And I’m pretty sure the thought of being executed, if it deters one and have this person to think twice about killing someone, is a plus. Also, notice how violent crime has increased since executions have been slowed or stopped.

  3. I have never been a supporter of the Death Penalty and I do not think my position will ever change. The crime situation in St. Lucia as well as other islands in the Caribbean is as a result of some issues. This is the reason I have never criticized the current government. We need to the find the root cause of the crime issue and apply the correct fix.
    If the issue is addressed and the correct resolution is applied, I think we can solve our problems without the re-introduction of the death penalty. The government needs to invest in the right resolution if they are to win the war on the criminals. Definitely the Death Penalty is the answer.

  4. As your can see your way is working so it’s time to put fear into these people. Everyone is afraid of dying so giving them a risk that if they gonna commit a crime will be punishable by death. It will not stop crime but it will slow it down

  5. “The death penalty is a cruel, inhumane”. The rape on an elderly woman is cruel and inhumane. The execution of an innocent child is cruel and inhumane. Why not STFU?

  6. Greater Caribbean for Life you full of shaaait. Is it not human enslaved to feed criminal in jail who is hell bent not to change their nasty life style?

  7. I disagree with all the learned Lawyers for the only reason that their findings will not make a difference in St Lucia. Here we are a much smaller, much poorer, less effective Police force, and the hardened criminals know it. The cost of housing, feeding and maintaining a proper standard to rehabilitate these criminals is not there, we need help in this regard.
    The criminals in St. Lucia is suspected, sad to say, have friends in high places, otherwise would not be able to survive that long, committing such heinous crimes, and some get away even when being locked up and leave the Island. It is my belief that if the death penalty is carried out here, I guarantee a sudden, if not a complete end to this matter; any doubts?

  8. I will not agree that the death penalty is inhumane. It is meant as the ultimate punishment. What is inhumane about it is the length of time it takes to execute someone on death row. So once the appeals process is exhausted whoever is sentenced to death should die. Simple. Notwithstanding, I think the death penalty should be reserved for the most heinous acts of murder.

    Too many of our criminals are contented on killing and serving time, knowing that they will not be killed and will have a “good” life behind bars albeit in a smaller version of our society. Too many of them who committed murder are dependent on the rest of us for sustenance when in prison. As a society we need to cull those animals but the right way – the death penalty. Why should someone go out there with the sole intent of killing, kills then pleads for his or her life, later. I am of the opinion that our society has denigrated to that level of criminality simply because we have all but abandoned the death penalty. So I say simply, I will support the state in executing them all, once due process has been allowed. Why should some criminal kill a toddler in the most barbaric ways, then beg to save his life later. This is what I find inhumane, concern for the criminals but not their victims.

  9. The situation in St. Lucia is so complex for a small Is land, and no mercy from the criminals that we have to take a stance no matter what to put an end to this matter that has been allowed to go on for too damn long. If it has to take hanging, then take hanging, no matter. Let’s put put an end to this madness once and for all. (I pray for wisdom in this matter)

  10. Keep your comments to yourself and your organization..is it fair to kill someone without facing the consequences? Look at the murder rate when hanging was in full force compared to now..

  11. You act like an animal you deserve to be treated like an animal for all of you who against the death penalty I can guarantee you, you will have a completely deferent opinion when one of your love ones will be take away from you by these thugs

  12. You may say the death penalty does not stop crime but it will surely rid us of some unsavoury characters when it is proven beyond doubt that they committed a crime worthy of the death penalty… decent citizens may at some point turn to petty crime, lock them up…but you committed first degree murder?…well society don’t need you…let’s debate this issue seriously and at the end of the day, when a society say bring back the death penalty, society dictates the way it wants to be administered….I am all for life and freedom under the law, but there are some crimes the are so dispicable, it warrants summary justice…the major world powers have have nuclear deterrent…for a reason..it deters foreign actors from assaulting them….well a government needs a deterrent to deter unsavoury actors from terrorising society….

  13. Calling for Death penalty in Saint Lucia.
    These people are speaking nonsense unless it does not reach their doorstep they won’t stop calling it inhumane.
    Was it humane for a someone to murder a 2 year old shooting him 8 times? Was it humane for a youngster to learn the training facility in castries only to stab an older woman all tge way in choiseul and return? Was it humane to hear women being brutaly raped and murdered? Is it friggin humane with these idiots shooting up the place causing fear amongst locals and disrespecting the police? Is it humane that one can just rob you and kill you in cold blood? The PRIVY COURT IS CROOKED AND THIS IS WHAT PJP WANTS? Death to these idiots… Return the same favor. Firing squad, lethal injection, bring it on and charge thos young people as adults cause they committ adult crimes. Heinous crimes needs the death penalty.

    Tax payers are the ones paying for these nasty criminals to eat sleep amd drink when the are out they murder those same people who fed their worthless asses.

  14. Re Article: condolences to all those who have lost their families by someone took their precious life’s away from them..I do disagree with the gallows and we should try to understand what created the dysfunctional elements of a murder, and their are many issues,ie financially depressed,. Ignoring, fabrication of lies.etc.
    Most of the disfunctionalie started at a very young age that went unnoticed and that will create criminals, Rapist, murders to name a few..
    Remember! Jesus Christ was hanged and nothing has changed Currently.
    We can combat criminal activities by Sharing the wealth of our Nation’s to the Less fortunate one’s.
    We should ceased fighting, killings, Haters and liars.. Folks! Let’s look at the other side of the coin and do better than we currently in world wide

    I do not endorse HANGING..

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