Nation e-Edition


‘END’ OF THE ROPE Sir Richard Cheltenham: We may never see hanging in Barbados again.

By Gercine Carter | Mon, July 19, 2010 - 12:00 AM

BARBADOS MAY have seen the last of hangings.

This is the view of Sir Richard Cheltenham, prominent attorney-at-law who said: “We may never see hanging in Barbados again” – though the death penalty remains on the statute books.

In an interview with the DAILY NATION, Sir Richard said the ruling by Britain’s Privy Council in the Pratt & Morgan case may have effectively ended the ability of the authorities to hang murderers.

He explained: “With the criminal’s right to resort to and exhaust all appellate channels, you cannot get through all these processes within five years, forcing sentencing to be commuted to life imprisonment.”

Death penalty

But he noted that, in contrast, the United States continued to execute for offences committed as long as 30 years earlier.

The death penalty was last administered in Barbados in the 1980s when three murderers were executed on the same day. Cheltenham was the acting Attorney General with responsibility for signing off on those executions.

The acclaimed attorney, who has successfully defended many a high-profile murder accused, told the DAILY NATION: “I have always been a death penalty man because in a small society the murdering of people has an impact on the whole society.”

But he said there was “ongoing discussion at a certain level” about what could be done about the whole question surrounding capital punishment. He anticipated that Government would soon make its position clear.

Meanwhile, Sir Richard said his information was that most of the murder cases coming before the court nowadays were drug-gang-related, averaging “well over 20 murder cases a year for a long time”.

He said this was in contrast to the three or four such cases when he was first admitted to the Bar four decades ago.

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Posted by triv 4 years, 3 months ago
In reaction to the growing flood of litigation, on May 26, 1998, Trinidad and Tobago announced that it was denouncing the American Convention due to the Commission’s failure to guarantee compliance with the 18-month time frames.

Since the our efforts to carry out the death penalty were frustrated T&T denounced their jurisdiction.

This is the slow process towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Barbados.

The following is a comment by Mr. Jack Warner in the T&T press 7 July, 2010.

"I have told the Attorney General that when he comes to Cabinet he must tell us what are some of the things we must do so as to free ourselves from these international organisations which try to frustrate the law of the land," Warner said after breakfast with his two sons, Daryan and Daryll, at the Femmes du Chalet in Port of Spain yesterday.

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Posted by Double U 4 years, 3 months ago
1.The decision to abolish hanging out to be the decision of Barbadians and it would be good to put it to the vote.
2.We are now an independent nation, or are we? There is need for clarification on whose dictate we should be guided by, whether the Privy Council or the CCJ.
3.Why are we cemented in British law? Why can't the statute of five years to cover appeals be repealed and re-enacted for a longer period as in US law?
4.We need to stop playing dumb. The only constant is God, everything else is open to change.

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Posted by J. Payne 4 years, 3 months ago
That's the problem with 'activist judges' as the Americans call it. The role of a judge is to interpret the law and Constitution as it is written. Not to essentially perform the role of the Parliament and create their own new rules. There are some U.S. states which still perform executions. Just look at the track record of Texas. I think if the government wants- to keep hanging they could. The law in Barbados might have to be altered but their present government has said they wanted to see the end of it in favour or housing hardened criminals for life.

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Posted by J. Payne 4 years, 3 months ago
I have a question though. How could Pratt and Morgan pertain to Barbados? That case was from Jamaica and the Statute of Westminster (inherited by Barbados via the UK in 1966) means that Barbados, Jamaica, and the UK too for that matter are treated like separate and individuals kingdoms. This means laws created in one country cannot affect another. Therefore should this not be the same for the Judiciary as well?

*Here it is: JCPC Judgement -- Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan v. The Attorney General for Jamaica, Appeal No. 10 of 1993 -

*BBC Feature on hanging in the Caribbean -

*New York Times - Death-Row Rule Sours Caribbean on Britain - High Commissioner Barbados&st=cse

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Posted by caribman 4 years, 3 months ago
It is amazing that Sir.Richard Cheltenham can justify the death penalty because Barbados is small and the impact that murder has on the society
The Death penalty certainly does not dampen that impact because there are still murders. I seriously believe that he was misquoted calling himself: " a death penalty man." Absolutely unbelievable.

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