St Vincent’s PM shares thoughts on death penalty

By Rumi Samuel Published on April 12, 2023
St Vincent’s PM shares thoughts on death penalty

The controversial death penalty issue arose during the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Face-to-Face radio programme as he expressed concern about crime and whether certain offences require capital punishment.  

On Easter Monday, the island recorded a fatal shooting, the first killing by a firearm since February 9, 2023.  

Dr Ralph Gonsalves urges young men to restrain themselves and end their fascination with guns to take out their anger.

“Everyone has to have patience and calm. Not because you get angry or lose yourself to restraint, you have to go for the gun. There has to be something that holds you back.” 

Gonsalves said something must be instilled in the family, schools, churches, the community, mass media, the State and with the appropriate legal framework.  

The prime minister said unfortunately, both the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council decided practically that no one can be sent to the gallows anymore for murder.  

“I have oscillated between the death penalty and no death penalty for a long time over the last dozen or so years, and I concluded that there are particular offences you need the death penalty for.” 

He believes it should be for murder, but not those of passion. The prime minister said that distinction was made in the Constitutional Reform Proposal, which went to the people; however, the people rejected it.  

“There were many proposals, but this was a critical one to write into the constitution... what was not there before... so we could carry out the death penalty in particular cases. 

But there it is... we may have to return to the people on that.” 

The prime minister added that in the meantime, the existing legal systems would be used as SVG seeks to see how it could bring up persons, particularly young males, and have the necessary restraints so they don’t resort to the gun.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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