‘House will soon get back to death penalty debate’
Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:00am
THE House of Assembly has not abandoned the debate on the mandatory death penalty, which it previously started.
Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart, suggested the above as he sought to address a concern raised by a member of the Opposition, as to why the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which sought to make new provisions for the age at which the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Auditor General should vacate office, was taking precedence over two other Constitutional Amendment Bills already on the Order Paper, one of which was in relation to the death penalty.
“One of those Amendment Bills has to do with the removal of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados. Now let me tell you Mr. Speaker and tell the House and tell the country, how we got to this point. Barbados has been ordered by the Inter-American Court to remove the mandatory death penalty from its statute books, because the mandatory death penalty is inconsistent with the Inter-American Convention of Human Rights,” the Prime Minister explained.
“Of course I am aware that there are initiatives afoot to regularise our relationship with the Court, but we could not do other than to bring that particular amendment before the House as we have done, because we were advised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the Attorney General’s Office and so on, that if an order has been made against the Government of Barbados on so important an issue as the removal of the mandatory death penalty, that we cannot just turn a blind eye to that order and pretend that it is not there. That if we are an energetic and lively democracy as we obviously are, that we must demonstrate that we obey court orders as well,” he revealed.
The PM acknowledged that the debate had already started in the House, but was not completed because there were some issues raised along the way, which the Attorney General wanted to have checked.
“We are going to get back to that debate on the mandatory death penalty,” he promised.
The other amendment to the Constitution to be debated, he meanwhile noted, will be in relation to the National Registration Exercise which has to take place, with a view to putting Barbadians in possession of a new multipurpose identification card. (RSM)