Human Rights advocate Mary Francis has renewed a call for Saint Lucia to scrap the death penalty, while observing that the last execution was carried out here in 1995.
Francis made the call as countries around the globe prepare to observe the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Sunday.
This year the observance will focus on women who risk being sentenced to death, who have received a death sentence, who have been executed, and to those who have had their death sentences commuted, exonerated, or pardoned.
Francis acknowledged that abolishing judicial executions is not a popular cause. Still, the outspoken Attorney at Law, who is also Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, declared that the issue is important.
According to Francis, since 2009, the United Nations has determined there’s no evidence to prove that the death penalty deters crime. In addition, she observed that people have been wrongfully executed.
She noted that young males people are involved in several murders in Saint Lucia. “However, while we sympathise with the victims of such crimes, we have to pay attention to those young men and ensure their socio-economic situation steers their minds away from guns and killings,” Francis told St Lucia Times.
She expressed that if the authorities execute all the people who take a life, the killings will not stop until the country addresses the social conditions that influence people to commit acts of violence.
Francis, a member of the group – Greater Caribbean for Life, recalled that most English-speaking Caribbean countries have not carried out executions in a decade or more, in effect implementing self-imposed moratoriums.
But she noted that they still retain the death penalty as part of their law.
However, Francis, who is a member of the group – Greater Caribbean for Life, asserted that there’s no justification for executing individuals in the pursuit of justice for murder victims.
“In Saint Lucia, the courts have already determined that the mandatory sentence of death is unconstitutional. In addition, international conventions have determined that the death penalty constitutes cruel and inhumane punishment, but we still retain the death penalty. Never mind we have amended our law to have capital and non-capital murder,” she told St Lucia Times.