Attorney at Law, Mary Francis, has dismissed a statement Thursday by National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, in support of capital punishment, asserting that implementing the death penalty will not solve the ‘murder crisis’ in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean.
“If the issue of the death penalty was not such a serious matter, I would say that his comments are laughable to me,” Mary Francis told Saint Lucia Times.
The National Security Minister had complained that criminals were being given a slap on the wrist by the courts, and announced plans to visit the gallows at Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) to ensure that the mechanisms were in working order.
But Mary Francis has declared that she cannot not see how, in this 21st century, implementing the death penalty will address the problem of murder.
Saint Lucia has so far recorded 37 homicides.
“We are fooling ourselves into believing that if you send people to the gallows, automatically it is going to be a deterrent,” the outspoken Human Rights Activist asserted.
She said there is no factual basis to prove that executions deter violent crime.
The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights recalled that there was a recommendation some years ago that Saint Lucia abolish the death penalty because it is a barbaric, inhuman measure which goes against the right to life – the most important human right.
“If you take away that right, what other human rights are there?” The Attorney at Law remarked.
“If the state is saying killing is wrong, the state cannot commit a wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Mary Francis argued.
She explained that the issue of gang violence and murders is rooted in the drugs trade and socio-economic problems including improper parenting.
While making it clear that she does not condone crime, Francis explained that the problem of criminal behaviour is multi-faceted.
“You just cannot simply talk about visiting the gallows and the death penalty. In this day and age these things sound almost laughable,” she told St Lucia Times.