Government Senator Matthew Samuda has called for the resumption of hanging in Jamaica, stating that a strong signal needs to be sent to murderers.
He made the call during his State of the Nation address in the Senate on Friday as Jamaica continues to grapple with a spiraling murder rate against the background of one of the bloodiest years on record with more than 1,600 murders in 2017.
“I am a firm believer in human rights and treating people with dignity… however, it’s time that we recognise that the most noble right is the right to life,” Samuda said.
“After we build airtight court cases and secure murder convictions, it’s time that Jamaica in the medium term sends a signal to those who brutalise our citizens, who have snuffed out the life of thousands over the last couple decades; the state should let them know if you unjustly take a man’s life, you are going to lose yours,” he said to loud desk thumping in support.
Jamaica retains hanging on its books, but has not carried out the death penalty since February 1988, when Nathan Foster and Stanford Dinnal were hanged for murder. This against the background of a ruling by the UK Privy Council – Jamaica’s final court of appeal – that it was inhumane to hang an inmate who had been on death row for more than five years.
And Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, has in the past said hanging is very unlikely to be resumed in Jamaica due to legal barriers including appeals by special interest groups.
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