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    August 18

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Death penalty can lower crime

MICHAEL RAY,

Added 08 August 2017

adriel-brathwaite

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite (FILE)

AS ONE AMONG a number of people concerned about shooting deaths on the island, I listened attentively to the Attorney General commenting on a promised debate on the death penalty to take place in Parliament soon.

He made reference to Trinidad and Tobago, where citizens awoke one morning to hear about the hanging of inmates previously convicted and sentenced for murder.

He made the point that since then, the murder rate has continued to increase in that country.

Based on what he has said, this letter writer is of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that he is in favour of the removal of the death penalty as a mandatory sentence for the crime of murder.

Impressions are also being given that the death penalty is not a deterrent, and that countries with the death penalty still on their statute books do not have lower murder rates.

These are highly fallacious notions and figments of an imagination void of present-day realities.

Wikipedia contains veritable information that does not align with such beliefs or thinking.

Across the globe, there are nine countries recording the lowest murder rates within the last five years that carry out the death penalty in an almost ritualistic manner.

Countries with low murder rate percentages are listed as Singapore 0.25, Hong Kong 0.30, Japan 0.31, Brunei 0.49, Indonesia 0.50, Burkino Faso 0.71, China and South Korea 0.74 each.

In contrast, some of the highest rates listed are being recorded within the Caribbean and in close proximity.

The countries named are Honduras 90.4, Venezuela 53.7, Belize 44.7, El Salvador 41.2, Guatemala 39.9, Jamaica 39.3, and Lesotho 38.0.

Barbados continues to record a low rate averaging around 9.7 to 10.91, but this is nothing about which we should be complacent.

Based on worldwide trends, retention of the death penalty could possibly bring that rate in line with other low-ranking countries. 

If the death penalty is not a deterrent, then I stand corrected and await an explanation.

– MICHAEL RAY

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