THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Bajans want a few necks to pop too
Did you hear a few days ago that Trinidad and Tobago opened the long closed doors to its gallows, and took action to make sure that the legal life-for-a-life taker is back in top-notch working condition, with no chance of the rope breaking under anybody’s weight from old age or the trap door not opening because of rusty hinges?
With the murder rate achieving tsunami proportions, the action of giving the gallows a full service complete with lube has left nobody in doubt that murderous necks are about to start popping again in the twin-island republic.
The barbarity of their criminals has driven Justice Minister Robert Volney to express support for an immediate resumption of hanging with a call for murderers to be hanged in public and not behind the prison walls “so the people would have fear of the law and for God”.
Last week Prime Minister Kamla Persaud-Bissessar also stated that the death penalty is the law of the land and that her government will abide by that law, adding: “I do not understand the debate if the law is on our statute books. We will act according to the rule of law.”
If anybody has any doubts that some killers on death row in Trinidad and Tobago are about to find themselves suffering the same fate as their victims, I have none. Similarly, I have no doubt that the gallows will also soon swing again in Jamaica, where distraught citizens often take the law into their own hands and execute murderers themselves rather than see them set free through some legal loophole.
Here in Barbados, every sampling of public opinion shows a majority bias for a return to the gallows as punishment for those found guilty of murder, despite the fact that our statistics pale when compared, not with big population neighbours like Jamaica and Trinidad but with significantly smaller St Lucia and St Kitts.
To hang or not?
To hang again or not to hang again is the question, and recent statements and responses by our lawmakers and lawgivers have not brought us any closer to realising the wishes of the majority of Bajans.
But Bajans are not demanding that criminals pay the ultimate price out of a sense of blood-thirstiness. I am sure the majority of those who shout “hang them” will, on the morning the trap door flies, feel a deep sense of sadness, sorrow and pain for the executed.
Their reason for wanting “a few necks popped” is that we have had it up to our own necks with the heartless, Jurassic Park brutality of an increasing number of criminals who show no regard for limb or life and no respect for man or God. Remorse is also not in their vocabulary.
Friday night’s heartbreaking tragedy in Bridgetown with six innocent lives lost, not because of an accident but because of a heinous criminal act, is but another classic example of why even Christian-minded Bajans want some necks to pop at Dodds.
I fear that if something doesn’t happen soon, we could see a resort to vigilante justice.