Human Rights campaigner, Mary Francis, has reiterated calls for capital punishment to be abolished on the eve of the observance of World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10.
The day will be dedicated to the right to effective legal representation for individuals who may face a death sentence.
Saint Lucia last carried out the death penalty in 1995.
Currently, there are no prisoners on death row at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), where nineteen inmates are serving life sentences having had their death sentences commuted.
Mary Francis asserts that the right to life is the most important human right.
But she observed that the Caribbean is one of the areas where the death penalty is on the statute books.
While acknowledging that there has been a moratorium on carrying out executions, Francis expressed the view that they could be resumed.
She acknowledged that most Saint Lucians appear to support capital punishment for murder.
But Francis, who is an Attorney at Law, spoke of the need to educate citizens on the significance of life as the most important human right.
“Without life, there is no other human right,” she explained.
“You can’t be talking about human rights even now in the COVID-19 era and the sate has brought in restrictive measures, when quite a number of Saint Lucians are opposed to the abolition of the death penalty,” Francis declared.
The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights asserted that capital punishment is harsh and inhumane.
She expressed the view that it is disproportionately administered to poorer people, whose social problems contribute to their criminal activity.
Noting that there’s a high murder rate in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean, Francis observed that social issues must be addressed.
“What we have to do is stop crime, not stop lives,” the outspoken Human Rights advocate told St Lucia Times.
According to Francis, the state has a responsibility to set the example.
“How can they say murder is a crime and then take your life? They need to set an example by showing that life is important,” she asserted.
Francis, whose National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights is affiliated to the group – Greater Caribbean for Life, said as part of the observance of World Day Against the Death Penalty, there will be a webinar on the theme – ‘Access to Counsel, A Matter Of Life Or Death’.