Dr Sonia Browne (FILE)
A first-time Member of Parliament has made a call for Barbados to find an alternative way to execute the death penalty.
Speaking during a debate in the House of Assembly on Tuesday to amend the Offences Against The Person Act, St Philip North’s Dr Sonia Browne suggested that hanging be discontinued and replaced with use of a legal injection or some other form of capital punishment.
She admitted she was once against capital punishment altogether, but that had changed over the years due to the high number of heinous crimes committed in Barbados.
“We need to move away from hanging,” she said.
“I still have a problem with it as a punishment. Maybe lethal injection would be better, but I don’t see that being brought and then catching cobwebs.”
The medical practitioner said that having 62 people in prison in Barbados on murder charges was “unacceptable”.
She, however, stressed that a death penalty should put fear into people.
“People should be terrified of going to prison and facing the death penalty,” she said, citing instances where quite a few people in Barbados who had killed others had served time in jail, and returned to society, only to kill again.
Browne also said people were too comfortable with the thought of going to jail.
“Jail is not a place you go to sit down comfortably to play cards or dominoes,” she said, as she suggested that the lands around Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds be used agriculturally so the facility could become self-sufficient in feeding inmates.
She also called on her administration to do comprehensive research into a functioning parole system, which could lead to a better and more seamless flow of prisoners back into society.
She was also critical of the number of people being granted bail while accused of capital crimes, saying that needed to be revisited.
In addition, the MP, while applauding the new administration for adding High Court judges since taking over, warned that due process in Barbados needed to be accelerated.
She cited examples where some females who had been raped when they were young girls were now adults in their 20s and forced to see their accusers every day while the cases remained in the system. (BA)