Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, voiced support for the death penalty at the just-ended Caribbean Community (CARICOM) symposium on crime.
At the same time, he told the Trinidad and Tobago event that too many judges and magistrates were ‘too soft.’
“I am a Roman Catholic. The Catholic Church preaches that we shouldn’t have the death penalty, and my mother was a Catholic – Legion of Mary. She taught me that we mustn’t have the death penalty. I happen to think that both the Pope and my mother are wrong,” Gonsalves declared to laughter from the audience.
“For crimes, for murder other than a crime of passion, you should get the death penalty,” the Vincentian leader stated, evoking applause from those in attendance.
“And if the Europeans don’t like that, they had it for a long time, and they may want not to give aid if you bring it back,” Gonsalves asserted.
But he said he was satisfied as a legal practitioner for many years, that most of the people who kill are cowards.
“Never mind this macho thing which you see they may present. They are absolute cowards,” Gonsalves explained.
According to the Vincentian leader, his remarks reflected the discussion that people in the taverns across Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and elsewhere were having.
In addition, he said too many judges and magistrates were ‘too soft’.
“Sometimes you get the impression that some magistrates, depending on who is the lawyer, their people seem to get a better treatment – their clients. Everybody talks about this you know, but they talk about it behind closed doors. You don’t hear it from a Prime Minister,” Gonsalves noted.
“Well, let us begin to talk about these things too,” he told the panel discussion involving other CARICOM leaders.
“”How can you give somebody who is charged for murder bail?” He asked.
Gonsalves explained that all such matters concern how the Region could address crime.