No to hanging

State sponsored murder!

This is how Roman Catholic Bishop for Bridgetown, Barbados, The Most Reverend Dr. Charles Jason Gordon described proposals by some Barbadians to bring back hanging as a form of corporal punishment.

The Bishop was at the time addressing the media at the Living Water Community Centre in St. David’s, Christ Church, as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown hosted the tenth Annual General Meeting of SIGNIS Caribbean, yesterday.

He recalled that last year, the Bishops of the Caribbean stated in a pastoral letter that capital punishment is not the way to go for solving the crime problem which the Caribbean is experiencing.

“All people have human dignity, just by virtue of being a human person. And that dignity does not go away when we do something really bad. So, even the worst sinner within humanity still has that spark of the divine in them.

“Hanging, is just state sponsored murder. So, whether the murder is happening by an individual, by passion or by design, or is happening by the state, it’s still murder. So, state sponsored murder isn’t a solution for violence in a society, its escalating the violence,” he stressed.

“I think that in Trinidad it was clear when one Attorney General had nine hangings one after the other, and the result of that was that the murder rate went up immediately. It didn’t go down, it went up.”

Bishop Gordon said that there is evidence of people who have been put to the gas chamber, the electric chair or hanged around the world, then to be proven innocent as new evidence emerged.

According to him, “if one innocent person can be killed because of lack of evidence or because of a bad judicial system, we should not use that as a means because it is really not a deterrent.”

“And the other fact is true – rich people don’t get hanged because they have very good lawyers. Poor people get hanged because they have very bad lawyers, or lawyers who are stretched; doing too many cases, who can’t give them the attention, who can’t really drill into the defence for them. So, the fact is that there is an injustice in that form of criminal punishment because there is a socio-economic factor that goes into who gets hanged and who does not get hanged,” the Bishop stated. (TL)

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