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Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has reiterated the Government’s commitment to resume hanging, as soon as possible.
Speaking to a large crowd at a Town Hall Meeting in Montego Bay Thursday night (June 25), Mr. Golding said that the Government was prepared to honour the “yes” vote taken by Parliament last year on the capital punishment issue.
“Once Parliament has taken that position, this Government has given a commitment that we are going to honour it. We are obliged by the resolution of Parliament,” he said.
Mr. Golding pointed out that there were about nine persons on Death Row, who are now going through their appeals process, which is what the Constitution requires.
“But, you have an undertaking from me, as head of this Government, that once those processes are exhausted, then the appropriate warrants will be issued. We are not backing off of that position that we have taken,” Mr. Golding said.
He noted that the biggest weapon against crime is the certainty of being caught and being punished, and urged the public to provide the police with information to resolve the crimes.
“If a man feels that he can commit murder and the chances of him being arrested are three out ten, and even after he is arrested, the chances of anybody coming as a witness to testify against him are two out of ten, and if they even testify, the chances of him being convicted is one of out ten, then he is not even going to squint, he is going to commit the crime,” the Prime Minister said.
“We have to get to the stage where with the partnership that must come from the people, when a man is considering doing something that he knows is against the law, something that he knows will attract severe punishment, he must be given cause to think that once, not twice, not thrice but several times; because in committing that crime, he must factor into his mind an acceptance of the punishment that he must feel is going to be served on him,” he added.
Mr. Golding said that the country cannot be crime-free, unless the people become partners in the effort. He said that it was not in all cases that the police can forensically procure evidence, and that information is needed that can be converted into evidence that can stand up in court.
“If people are not prepared to recognise that everyone of us needs to be a constable in our own house, and in our own community, where we become part of the law enforcement process, then we will forever have situations where we are not going to achieve the best results,” Mr. Golding said.
The Jamaican House of Representatives voted last November to retain hanging, while the Senate voted similarly a month later. However, no one has been hanged in Jamaica since 1988.