The recent murders here in St Vincent and the Grenadines has brought about a resurgence to the debate surrounding the death penalty.
“I am supportive of the death penalty, says PM Gonsalves but it has to be produced within a particular frame as we had proposed with the changing of the constitution”.
Gonsalves said even thou we have the death penalty on the books; the judge made law has ensured that you can hardly hang anyone.
“ Take, for instance, the case of Daniel Trimmingham who had chopped off a mans neck and disembowelled him, the Judges here in the High Court and the Court Of Appeal had said yes to the death penalty. However, the privy council said no, that killing was not the worst to justify the death penalty”.
Gonsalves questioned whether or not you have to pull out the tongue, the eyeball, and toenails.
“Do you have to do all of that to justify a hanging, I don’t know, he said”.
“ We were taking away in the proposed constitution that particular power from the Judges about these matters and divide the offences between those who are deserving of the death penalty and those who are not”.
However, it was voted down and never given a chance to work, that’s where we are, said Gonsalves.
The death penalty is still a fiercely debated subject in the Caribbean, where only Bermuda has abolished it, and Grenada is abolitionist in practice.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a retentionist, still having the death penalty on the books.
The last executions here took place on the 13th of February 1995 when Douglas Hamlet, Franklin Thomas, and David Collins were hanged for murder.