No option but death ‘not fair’
Member of Parliament for Christ Church East Wilfred Abrahams put up a strong case for abolishing the mandatory death penalty in the House of Assembly on Tuesday.
Piloting the Offences Against The Person (Amendment) Bill 2018, he said the demands of the penalty of death by family members of victims, and the desire of the family of the accused to have leniency for their relative, both deserved consideration.
“The degree of the offence must be taken into consideration with the most serious degree punishable by death.”
Abrahams pointed out murderers had been sentenced to death but not hanged since Barbados’ last execution in 1984. He said successive governments and rulings of other courts whose judgements Barbados was bound to acknowledge through conventions it signed, had accepted “that it is not fair that there should be no option on a finding of murder but to sentence a person to death”.
“It is not fair for us to sit and determine that everybody charged with murder deserves to hang. The police get it wrong; the courts get it wrong. The problem with the execution of death is that it is the most final sentence.”
Abrahams suggested the final words from the judge to the convicted murderer as well as the anxious wait on death row, drove fear into the hearts of the convicted.
However, he insisted: “I personally have no sympathy for someone who sets out to kill someone as a malicious enterprise with malice aforethought, who plans and sets it up and ensures that that criminal enterprise is carried out, resulting in someone’s death . . . .
“But I believe that is to be reserved for only those people who fall into that bracket where the law has no other option than to take your life because nothing else will suffice.” (GC)