Sunday, Jun 16, 2019

Death row conundrum

Death row conundrum
07 Nov

The 11 people currently on death row will have to be given new sentences.

That is if the Senate passes the proposed amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act now being discussed.

Under those amendments, judges will no longer be forced to impose the death penalty on people found guilty of murder.

Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Dr Jerome Walcott explains that the death sentence remains an option.

He says however, the Caribbean Court of Justice has ruled that keeping it compulsory is now unconstitutional.

Dr Walcott says the 62 people awaiting trial for murder and six for manslaughter also stand to be affected.

Meantime, opposition senator, Caswell Franklyn says while he supports the abolition of the mandatory death penalty, he feels the majority of Barbadians do not.

He says crime on the island is rampant and people prefer to have the death penalty available.

A government senator is calling for greater support for young people in educational and similar endeavors.

Dr Crystal Haynes says this could cut down the amount of money that is invested in punitive measures like prisons.

She says regional statistics indicate that 21 percent of students are leaving school without the minimum requirements needed for further education.

As government seeks to abolish the mandatory aspect of the death penalty for people guilty of murder, an independent senator wants the punishment off the statute books completely.

Reverend Senator Michael Maxwell made the call while contributing to debate in the Upper House.

While supporting the measure, he wants lawmakers to go further.

Removing the mandatory death penalty from the laws of Barbados will bring the country in line with international standards.

Senator Damien Sands was speaking during debate in the Upper House on the amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act.