Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2013 Contents A11
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professor emeritus Roger Hood
says his survey of T&T s views on
the death penalty was misinter-
preted and only 26 per cent of
respondents were truly in favour
of the mandatory death penalty---
not most of them.
Hood spoke to T&T Guardian
after he finished contributing to a
panel discussion at yesterday s ses-
sion on Asia and the Death Penalty
at the Anti-Death Penalty Congress
at the Palacio Muncipal de Con-
The session assessed major
issues in states from India to
Indonesia, in a region described by
the abolitionist movement as a
"worldwide bastion of the death
In the panel talks, Hood spoke
about his surveys in other parts of
the world. Afterwards, he was asked
about the reported high figures in
his 2011 survey and whether he
would be doing another one in
Hood said he isn t doing another
survey in T&T but had been fol-
lowing the Government s moves
to implement the death penalty.
He said, however, that there were
hopes to follow up his survey s
finding with "the politicians."
"It s really become a political
issue...I think the work we did there
(T&T) really destroyed their case
for maintaining a mandatory death
penalty in T&T," he said.
"Not only was it shown to be
ineffective in bringing cases to court
and getting convictions for murder,
but it was highly arbitrary in the
way it was enforced, and also senior
judges and other lawyers we spoke
to were not in favour of the manda-
tory death penalty themselves."
He stressed that only 26 per cent
of respondents were in favour of
the mandatory death penalty.
Agreeing it was misinterpreted,
Hood said: "When we asked people
if they thought the death penalty
was an appropriate sentence, it was
a much lower figure, and the num-
ber of people who thought every
murder case should be sentenced
to death was very small indeed."
Hood also gave the thumbs
down to legislation to categorise
murder, a course which the Gov-
ernment began, but braked on
when it hit an Opposition block in
the Parliament months ago. That
legislation is now in limbo.
Hood said Britain tried that legal
option and failed with it years ago.
"Utter failure---it creates great
deal of arbitrariness; who is to say
one murder is much worse than
Saying he had been following
what the T&T Government had
been doing in that area, Hood said:
"We in Britain had it in 1957, and
by 1965, high court judges said it
was a disastrous policy and brought
the law into disrepute. It was even-
So what were his suggestions on
the issue on which the death penal-
ty is expected to be a deterrent?
"Much of the crime involves
gangs and people in the drug trade,
it seems, of which very few are
apprehended and convicted.
"So clearly, whatever effort has
to start with much better law
enforcement and much better safe-
ty for victims and people threat-
ened by violence and death, and
you ve got to start with a greater
concentration on education of the
"In my survey we asked people
what were the most effective ways
of dealing with crime from greater
moral education of youths, greater
policing and greater attempts to
seize drugs or more executions.
"More executions came in at the
bottom, so people don t really think
more executions will do it. It needs
to be thought through again."
T&T attorney and Catholic
Commission for Social Justice
member Leela Ramdeen, who
spoke at Thursday s conference
session on the Caribbean, echoed
similar suggestions. She said
regional governments must focus
on preventative measures and
rethink strategies to tackle crime,
violence, gangs, drug trafficking
and small-arms issues.
Ramdeen, who is also on the
Greater Caribbean for Life group,
encouraged Caribbean states to
respond to the UN s call to abolish
the death penalty.
Head of the Puerto Rican coali-
tion against the Death Penalty,
Carmelo Campos Cruz, said yes-
terday he hoped the regional abo-
litionist movement would be able
to establish communication with
the T&T Government when
regional leaders hold a meeting in
T&T on October 30.
At Thursday s conference session
on the Caribbean, Cruz (head of
the Victims Rights Unit of the
Puerto Rico Bar Association) told
the audience efforts were being
made for a meeting to be held in
T&T when the World Day Against
the Death Penalty is observed on
2011 death penalty survey misrepresented...
Oxford prof: Most
Trinis not in support
A model wears one of designer Dhisha Moorjani's creations during the
House of Jaipur fashion show at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on
Thursday night. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
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