Battling the barrenness of Scotland
VERILY, they say, confession is good for the soul. And it is an important first step for the big legal heavies to come out and openly admit they are losing the war against illegal drugs.
They could also have admitted they are losing the war against cash-for-gold robbers, copper thieves, praedial larceny, wanton murders, attacks on tourists and even the wholesale stealing of land.
In short, while the police continue to do a great job, our present judicial system is failing to tackle crime. Period.
Many of us can remember when Barbados was a law-abiding country. Someone not having a working bicycle bell or stealing two fowl cocks were major events in the life of a policeman. Justice worked. On our way to school we saw gangs of prisoners pulling carts to Codrington to cut soft stone. Hard labour was the sovereign remedy to teach law-breakers that crime was no short-cut to easy living.
Strangely enough, a young lady lamenting the fall of Saddam Hussein in some ways painted a picture of that Barbados. Women, she said, could travel anywhere in Iraq without fear of being raped. Religious minorites like Christians could worship freely. Since the Blair/Bush intervention, all that is now a thing of the past.
We, of course, know what went wrong in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean. So-called human rights activists were allowed to effectively castrate the justice system. With endless appeals, effective punishments were abandoned or so severely curtailed as to be no longer relevant. Criminals woke up to find that crime does pay and we have very little left with which to fight it.
It raises the hackles, therefore, when one Baroness Patricia Scotland sojourns from the mighty mother country to tell us to abolish the death penalty, our last bulwark against the almost daily killings since prison has become no big thing to criminals.
The Baroness and her ilk trot out the trite nonsense that “the death penalty is not a deterrent” as if that were it’s prime function. A punishment is first and foremost administered to make the perpetrator pay for his action. If he wantonly takes a life, he should give his own.
But the death penalty does much more. Relatives and friends of the deceased can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the perpetrator will perpetrate no more. Never again will the rogue who raped and killed their daughter show his gloating face anywhere in their presence.
However, the Baroness, in my submission, doesn’t even know what a deterrent is. A deterrent is simply a device, strategy or whatever which dissuades one from taking a particular course of action. A deterrent does not prevent. If one person is dissuaded from committing a murder because of fear of the death penalty, it is a deterrent.
Time and again in the days when it was routinely administered people walked away from volatile situations with the muttered oath that, “You is only gallows bait. I done wid dat!”
Alas, no more. And Baroness Scotland wants to put the final nail in the coffin of what little protection we have left. Interestingly enough, India is at present debating a bill to introduce the death penalty for rape.
Mind you, don’t think for one moment that Scotland’s British have any aversion to executing people. Far from it. They recently sent troops covertly to kill Libyans and get rid of Gaddafi. Just this week on Morning Barbados we were told that they have perfected bomber drones which will select their own targets.
Their bosom buddies, the Americans, have long since abandoned free and fair trials and killing unarmed “perceived” opponents, and any innocents who happen to be around, is now the preferred option. No, it is only executing convicted criminals after exhaustive legal proceedings that apparently upsets the human rights fraternity.
Thanks to them, our young ladies are now terrified to walk the road, widows spend each night praying for daylight, old men put up their shutters at sunset.
Our justice system has failed. Vigilante justice works but we should avoid going there. Instead I suggest we ask Suleiman Bulbulia or the Singapore authorities to recommend effective laws.
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]