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Barbados: Senators see benefits of amending capital punishment act

The Barbados Government’s decision to move towards scrapping the mandatory death penalty in cases of murder has been lauded by most Senators who spoke on the topic when the Upper House met on Thursday.

Independent Senator, Lindell Nurse, said the Offences against the Person Amendment Bill 2018 might have been a bit late in coming, but it was inevitable.

“The Inter-American Human Rights Court ruling happened as early as 2004 and then there was the recent Caribbean Court of Justice ruling on the matter, but in all fairness we have been moving in that direction for a long time. We have not executed anyone in over 30 years. We have seen death sentences commuted to life imprisonment, and when cases came before the court, they were changed to manslaughter to avoid the mandatory death penalty.”

Deputy President of the Senate Rudolph Greenidge said he was a passionate supporter of the death penalty. One of his uncles was murdered “because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time” and the perpetrator only served seven years in prison. However, Greenidge acknowledged that in some instances it was a bit too harsh, for example, in cases where accomplices “did not play a direct role in the killing, but either helped the accused bury the body or drove the getaway car also got the death sentence”.

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