Amnesty International says time to make death penalty history in English-speaking Caribbean

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The London-based international human rights organisation, Amnesty International, says while it welcomes a “significant reduction” in the application of the use of the death penalty in the English-speaking Caribbean in recent years, it is urging all regional countries to abolish it.

“As the English-speaking Caribbean marks its first decade as an execution-free region, Amnesty International congratulates those governments who have recognized the ultimate cruelty of the death penalty and renews its calls on them and all other states that still retain this punishment to take further steps to abolish it for good,” Amnesty International said in a statement at yearend.

It said figures on the use of the death penalty in the English-speaking Caribbean indicate that there has been a significant reduction in the application of this punishment in recent years.

According to Amnesty International, only half of the 12 English-speaking Caribbean countries have imposed new death sentences since the last man was executed in St. Kitts-Nevis at the end of 2008.

It said five countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica and St. Lucia – have commuted their remaining death sentences in in the past five years (2013-2017), reporting empty death rows and leaving a minority of countries to carry the weight of the death penalty in the Americas region, together with the United States.

Amnesty International said the United States has remained the only state to carry out executions, but even in the USA figures on death sentences imposed and implemented have reached historical low records.

Amnesty International said that as of the end of 2017, over 96 per cent of all those on death row in the English-speaking Caribbean were held in three countries alone, Barbados (13 per cent), Guyana (32 per cent) and Trinidad and Tobago (52 per cent). The three countries retain the mandatory death penalty in their legislation.

“International law prohibits the mandatory imposition of the death penalty, as it removes from judges the possibility of considering any mitigating factors at sentencing in relation to the circumstances of the offence and of the offender.”

Amnesty International said that the overall decrease in the death sentences in the region fully reflects global trends on the death penalty, noting that in the past decade, 13 countries have repealed the death penalty completely from their national legislation and a further two have become abolitionist for ordinary crimes, such as murder, retaining it only for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances.

The international human rights group notes that a recent decision by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the highest appellate court for Barbados, shows that the momentum towards abolition is set to continue.

It said that in June 27, last year, the CCJ ruled in relation to two cases from Barbados that Section 2 of the Offences Against the Person Act was unconstitutional because it gave judges no choice but to apply the death sentence.

“The court recommended resentencing for all cases where a death penalty sentence was initially given for murder under Section 2 of the Act. As the Parliament of Barbados continues its deliberations on draft legislation proposed in 2014, aiming at introducing judicial discretion in murder cases to comply with decisions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the death penalty in the region was handed another blow,’ Amnesty International added.

It said cracks in the wall of capital punishment in the English-speaking Caribbean were also seen at international level in 2018.

“For the first time, two countries from the English-speaking Caribbean did not oppose a UN call for the establishment of a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, in a historic move that further shows that global consensus is building towards ending the use of the death penalty.”

Amnesty International said on December 17, the UN General Assembly adopted with record-high support its seventh resolution on the issue.

“For the first time, Dominica co-sponsored and voted in favour of the resolution, and Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana abstained at the vote, in an unprecedented move that shows the perception of the death penalty in the region is changing,” Amnesty International said.

13 COMMENTS

  1. They should tell that to the United States of America. People who commit heinous crimes against humanity should be made to live off of taxpayer’s money??

  2. The death penalty needs to remain and be enforced. I guess the person who is maliciously murdered was not human. What happen to the human rights at that time? I think depending on the circumstances of how the crime occur head have to roll.
    If you enter someone’s house to rob them and kill them head have to roll. Not you go to jail for life and the family of the victim have to pay tax to feed you for the rest of your life. You have no use to our society.

  3. Who feel it knows it. Wonder if they lost a friend or family member to murder you see how quick they change their tone. An eye for an eye a tooth for a toot.

  4. Thats why they dnt think 2 to kill bcos I won’t get hanged jus jailed….

    Who speaks for the DEAD????? …
    It says in the bible an eye 4 an eye …
    Public Execution needs to be held instead

  5. Capital punishment is very important. Every murderer should be on death row. Hangings should be carried out according to the law. Our friends and allies in places like the USA and the People’s Republic of China carry out such executions on a regular basis. It’s on the books here and should be enforced. Many innocent lives will be saved.

  6. Amnesty International, will they support the victims family for the rest of their lives? Hell no, so tell Amnesty International go to hell and keep out of other independent countries internal affairs, in other words stfu.

  7. IF A STATE CANNOT GIVE LIFE THEN THE STATE SHOULD NOT TAKE LIFE. (Rastaman)

    GEORGE STINNEY (1944) IS IN THE BEST POSITION TO SPEAK ON THIS ISSUE.

    Who kills the killer that killed the killer? Well that killer is forgiven because he is in his right mind and that killer gets to go home and have dinner with his family. In fact that killer will kill 15-20 persons and never refered to as a serial killer. (Hangman is that killer’s name)

    Who will kill the killers that go to war and kill people?

    WHO DECIDES THAT ONE LIFE IS MORE VALUABLE THAN ANOTHER WHO? Can you give it

    Anyone that takes another’s life is sick and is need of spiritual and medical guidance.

    IT IS BARBARIC TO KILL ANOTHER BECAUSE THEY HAVE KILLED, NOW YOU ALSO IS GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER YOU PKANNED IT IN ADVANCE YOU BUILD THE GALLOWS YOU MADE TYE BLINDFOLD YOU SHOYLD BE IN YOUR RIGHT MIND BUT LOOK WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

    I am against the death penalty because it is not a penalty it is finality. Ask GEORGE STINEY…….

  8. Hell, NO. They have gay marriage and no capital punishment…
    We, in the Caribbean, have different views. Can’t they respect that? Why must we ALWAYS bend to their ways? Leave us with our culture.
    Hang those murderers!!!!

  9. Demons at work I tell you. Even the Almighty creator enforced and now some people who think there smart knows better. This is demonic in its nature. Turn to Jesus!

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