Press release submitted by Robert ‘Bobby’ Clarke’, Senior Counsel
In January 2018 the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the mandatory death sentence for murderers was unconstitutional. At that time, the Caribbean Court of Justice showed a fundamental principle. That principle was that because a person had murdered another person, the State had no right to carry out murder against that murderer.
It is immature that the present Attorney General, Mr. Dale Marshall in reference to the bringing back of hanging of persons who carried out murder states that justice might now be better served. How?
That comment could come from a non-thinking person.
How could the state killing of a murderer be any different from a murderer killing an innocent person?
In my view, murder by the State is more horrible because intelligent members of Parliament could come to a conclusion that to hang a human being at Dodds Prison is somehow more decent, more loving, more caring, or more understanding than a crime of passion like when a man kills his woman.
All killings are wrong. Because they are wrong you don’t kill the killer you must find a better way of punishment that shows some mercy and not vengeance.
We as a so-called educated Country should be able to
- Analyse the situation with reference to the murder and the murderer and agree that the person committing the act should be punished
- Work out the type of punishment that we can impose on the person committing the murder
There is no way that the person committing the act of murder could alleviate the pain and suffering that the family of the person that was killed, endure.
In the Attorney General having pushed for the immediate effect to reintroduce hanging will in no way prevent the young people who are now part of the spate of crimes from continuing their nefarious acts.
We in Barbados must be able to recognize persons going off-track; and that should really be done at the primary school level between the ages of 4 and 6. It cannot be done later, when they have left primary school and have moved on to the age of 15-16.
In my view each primary school should have a trained psychologist attached to the school whom can reach and deal with deviant behavior at the before-mentioned tender age range of 4-6.
We tend to forget the horrors that our fore-parents went through during the murderous period of slavery.
The cruelty that Europe went through, through the behavior of Hitler and Mussollini in the two World Wars 1914-18 and 1937-45.
We must move above that. We must be more caring and become our brothers and sisters’ keeper.
Not only should the murderers be put through a learning experience at the prison but all of the prisoners should be schooled in various trades and disciplines so that they can contribute meaningful to society. They can open a proper bakery not only to feed the Prison but to supply the District Hospitals etc. They can make furniture for the schools.
There should be an education policy at the Prison aimed to developing their skill making them more useful to the total Barbadian society, becoming responsible citizens.
As Barbados has a pretty big Police Force, Defence Force and fire brigade and regiment they can make boots and clothing for these entities and this can be expanded into making school uniforms and other industries to help develop Barbados and save foreign exchange.
We can have a public debate on this issue and I would hope that the University of the West Indies, the Churches, the politicians and all interested groups would take part in this debate.
I am reminded of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and treating that old, blind man as one of us.