Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 29th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 29 - 2017
Hanging won't stop
criminals if detection
rate stays low---Bishop
As Parliament moves to
resume the execution of convict-
ed murderers, Bishop of the Unit-
ed West Indian Baptist Sacred
Order, Leon John, says this will
not deter criminals as the crime
detection rate is too low.
Giving his personal view on the
death penalty during the annual
baptist Liberation Rally in San
Fernando on Saturday, John said
if criminals believe they can com-
mit crimes without being caught
they will continue their crimes.
The success of the death pen-
alty has long been debated in
society, with many believing it
does little to deter the murder
rate. With the murder rate spi-
ralling once again, John said pen-
alties, including a death penalty,
would only work if you have
someone to impose them on.
"In order you hang somebody
you have to really find out who
actually did the murder. The rate
of detection of crime in Trinidad
and Tobago is really low, so even
if you increase penalties, if you
don't find persons who did the
crime, hangings will not help
much," John said.
"I believe that it would not
make a difference with what is
taking place with crime. I'm not
in support of bringing back hang-
ings as a deterrent to crime. If
the criminals know that they will
be caught, that will be a deterrent.
If they know they can do crimes
and get away, even if there is
hanging as the final penalty, that
would not be a deterrent."
During a post-Cabinet media
briefing on March 16, Prime Min-
ister Dr Keith Rowley said he was
a firm believer in capital punish-
ment and that those who have
chosen crime as a way of life should
pay the ultimate penalty. Rowley
said he had communicated with
former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, who had pro-
vided a pathway for the Office of
the Attorney General to make sure
the existing law can be used.
Maharaj is expected to host a
media conference today to speak
on Rowley's announcement.
It was during Maharaj's term
as attorney general in 1999 that
Dole Chadee and his gang were
executed, after being convicted
for the murders Hamilton Babool-
al, his sister, Monica and their
parents. Two children, Osmond
and Sumatee Baboolal, survived
the attack. Osmond later turned
to a life of drugs.
Giving an insight into what
might come today, Lawrence said,
"I'm basically dealing with the
announcement made by the Prime
Minister with respect to the sub-
mission of a plan for the imple-
mentation of the death penalty.
I'll be talking about the questions
and issues that have been raised
following that announcement."
He said he will also be dealing
with the laws to abolish prelim-
inary inquiries and introduce
judge alone trials which Govern-
ment intends to introduce, as well
as its fight against crime since
coming into office.
A member of the West Indian United Spiritual Baptist Sacred Order Inc in
collaboration with The Baptist Community of T&T sing spiritual songs as she
walks along Coffee Street San Fernando, during their annual "Baptist Liberation
Rally and Peace march Against Violence," on Saturday.
Ramesh hands over dossier to Govt
'Will power needed for death penalty'
Former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj says the Govern-
ment has been given the plan on
how to implement the death penal-
ty and all that is required now to get
the job done was will power.
Speaking at a press conference at
his San Fernando law chambers yes-
terday, Maharaj SC said: "It comes to
the will power of a government to
deal with the problem and the gov-
ernment depends upon its ministers.
A plan is only as good as its imple-
mentation...I believe it can be imple-
mented. I believe if the government
wants to continue with the death
penalty it can be implemented."
Maharaj who has passed on a dos-
sier detailing how he was successful
in hanging Dole Chadee and his eight
accomplices during his tenure as
attorney general to Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley, reiterated that he
charged no fee.
He said the Government has the
option of retaining the services of
Peter Pursglove SC, who is presently
on vacation here, as a consultant to
assist them in carrying out the death
penalty. Pursglove had been retained
by Maharaj to assist in fast-tracking
Addressing the issue of the abolition
of preliminary inquires, Maharaj said
that move will put additional strain
on the High Court which already had
hundreds of people awaiting trial.
He endorsed the comments of
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger
Gaspard who described the move as
short-sighted during a parliamentary
committee meeting last Friday given
the lack of resources in the DPP's
Office and other inefficiencies in the
criminal justice system. Maharaj said
the government must withdraw the
bill pending further study.
Similarly, he said the Miscellaneous
Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone)Bill
should have gone through a process
of proper and adequate consultation
with the legal profession and the pub-
lic.He said the law will not make
any dent in the delays of the crim-
inal justice system and it would
have no impact on increasing the
detection rate for murders and
Maharaj added that the time has
come for the population to see and
to feel the government is declaring
war against the criminal elements.
Maharaj called on the Government
and the police to take immediate
action to halt the spiralling rate of
criminal activities and bring the crim-
inals to justice.
He said it was unacceptable that
85 per cent of the people who com-
mitted murders and serious crimes
are walking free and called for an
immediate action plan to increase the
detection of crimes. (Trinidad Guardian)
Attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj displays a book Implementing The Death Penalty in Trinidad and Tobago
1995-2000 during a press conference at his office in San Fernando, yesterday.
Maharaj said this must include
• An overhaul and purge of the
existing investigative units of
the Police Service
• An overhaul for the forensic
laboratory with immediate steps
to have the necessary staff and
forensic technology to detect
murders and serious crimes
• Immediate changes to the
Witness Protection Unit so
witnesses will be encouraged
and induced to come forward to
• Government must take steps to
implement the DNA Act and
establish a DNA bank.
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