Mandatory death penalty to go

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today made a preemptive strike against the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) as his administration prepares to resume debate on the removal of the mandatory death penalty.

In wrapping up debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill 2016 which sought to extend the retirement age for both the Auditor General and the Director of Public Prosecutions from 62 to 67, Stuart took a less-than-subtle jab at the at BLP over the country’s participation in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The Prime Minister told the House that the court was thrust upon Barbadians in 2000 without a national discussion.

The BLP was in office when Barbados joined the judicial institution which promote basic rights and freedoms in the Americas.

“We woke up one morning and heard that we had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court and that cases could go there in accordance to the Inter-American Convention. There was no referendum, no discussion. It just happened,” Stuart said. He explained that as a result of the country’s participation in the court, Barbados was obligated to get rid of the mandatory death sentence.

“When we submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, we entered a reservation on the issue of the death penalty [and] the court ruled that the reservation which we entered [was]of no legal effect; it could not achieve the objective which we wanted to achieve and therefore we had to comply with this order to remove the mandatory death penalty.”

Stuart explained that because the mandatory death penalty did not comply with the American Convention on Human Rights Barbados could not ignore the court’s orders.

“We were advised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s office, that if an order has been made against the Government of Barbados on such an important an issue as the removal of the mandatory death penalty, we cannot just turn a blind eye to that order and pretend that it is not there. We must demonstrate that we obey court orders as well,” he said.

Stuart said Barbados remained the only English-speaking Caribbean country under the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court.

“Barbados submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court around 2000-2001, the USA has not submitted itself to that court, Canada has not submitted itself to that court. One Caribbean country, Trinidad and Tobago had, and withdrew from the court because it was thought that the court’s arm reached too far into the everyday life of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados is still a member of the court.

“I am aware that there are initiatives afoot to regularize our relationship with the court but we could not do other than to bring that particular amendment before the house as we have done,” he added.

“That debate has started in this house, the debate has not yet finished because there were some issues that were raised along the way which the Attorney General wanted to check and we are back to that debate on the mandatory death penalty. The debate has started and about six or seven persons have spoken already,” the Prime Minister said.

16 Responses to Mandatory death penalty to go

  1. Christopher Donawa
    Christopher Donawa July 20, 2016 at 5:39 am

    All understood. However, would someone please explain what the perceived benefits were to us joining and remaining in this court? Additionally, if the government, representing the views of the people is still in favour of maintaining and carrying out the death penalty why has there seemingly been no effort in the last 16 years, evenly split between both parties, to have us remove ourselves from the court? After all, Trinidad did it do there is a precedent…

  2. Joan Wickham
    Joan Wickham July 20, 2016 at 6:31 am

    bare red herrings, he done know we will not be hanging any one , this , move is just to distract citizens from the sale of the oil company, and the fact that we are almost out of foreign reserves

    • Carson C Cadogan July 20, 2016 at 6:51 am

      Not true at all.

  3. Carson C Cadogan July 20, 2016 at 6:40 am

    This is good news.

    This should have been done years ago.

  4. Carson C Cadogan July 20, 2016 at 6:49 am

    BARBADOS TODAY, June3, 2013:

    “Human rights body points to local ‘blemish’”

    “The continuation of mandatory death penalty sentences for certain offences, including murder, and Barbados’ “discrimination” against the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is a blemish on the island’s human rights record.

    That’s what global human rights body Amnesty International has told the United Nations in a submission prepared for the UN’s Universal Review. And in the document, Amnesty is urging authorities here to take certain steps on these and related recommendations the island has “rejected” since December 2008.

    “Amnesty International regrets that Barbados rejected recommendations which were intended to ensure that Barbados adheres to its international human rights obligations towards children, as well as to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” he organisation said.

    “In particular, Barbados rejected the recommendations to eliminate all forms of corporal punishment from its legislation and discourage its use in schools, to decriminalise consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex, and to take all necessary actions to protect LGBT people from harassment, discrimination and violence.”

    Corporal punishment needs to be done away with as well.

  5. harry turnover July 20, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Freundel Stuart…..stop pompasetting on the fact that it was the BLP who linked up with the Inter- American Court of Human Rights…YOU are the Government NOW and PM at that…..IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT…THEN WITHDRAW LIKE TRINIDAD NUH……cheese on bread man !!

  6. Alex Alleyne July 20, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I will settled for not hanging, but I don’t want to pass a fella on the streets who kill people and looking at others and smile as he goes by saying “uh-tell-ya-so”.( Meaning I will walk the streets again).
    One part fixed, now fix the other which is “Life in DODDS without parole” .

  7. Bupps July 20, 2016 at 7:24 am

    I we wish to keep the mandatory death penalty why not simply withdraw from the court?

  8. BaJan boy July 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Freundel Stuart continues to treat Barbadians like idiots. If he was against the decision in 2000 he was Attorney General and had the first ipportunity as a new Government to make that decision. Since then he has been Prime Minister and with the knowledge of the need to withdraw from the court had all the opportunities he needed between 2010 and 2013. These DLP Government has been constantly criticizing every possible thing that was introduced in the previous 14 years and have done absolutely nothing to change anything.
    They hardly go to work, hardly meet in Parliament , hardly do anything to improve the lives of our people and only think of their bellies literally and figuratively.
    I am not one for the death penalty but if Barbadians want to retain I believe something as important as this we should have a referendum.
    Freundel Sturat is the worst PM not only in his inability to do the job and his disregard and disrespect for the people of Barbados but in his blankly lying and even refusal a former practicing criminal lawyer to make important decisions that can enhance the judiciary and the lives of our. This is sad espesially in light of the fact that we have like him a lazy and senseless Attorney General and a CHEIF Justice so full of himself he can’t loose weight.
    Our country needs to rid itself of this bunch so urgently it is frightening but we know that if Freundel on the last occasion only suspected he was going to loose and took the elections down to the wire. When do you think he will call in now that he KNOWS he will loose despite his enthusiastic showing at his constituency gatherings.

  9. Tony Waterman July 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    “The Prime Minister told the House that the court was thrust upon Barbadians in 2000 without a national discussion.”

    This is what can be called a Monumental Cop Out, as Trinidad & Tobago also had signed onto that institution, but has since RESCINDED that Signature, and as such are NO LONGER follows their (IAHRC) Rules.

    Instead of throwing blame across the aisle, why not do as T&T did and RESCIND Barbadoss Signature.

  10. Yogi Ni July 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I thought the Constitution of Barbados was supreme to any agreement any Politician or Diplomat signed on the behalf of the country. We can leave the Jurisdiction of the Court.

  11. Green Giant July 21, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Some of us here dislike when the government mention the negatives done without discussion by the previous administration. We the people need to awake from our political partisan slumber, both parties of morons have taken us for a ride for the last 25 years. One ride was just longer than the current one. I simply fail to comprehend how Barbadians can give public support to either of them without being ashamed. We find ourselves in the twenty first century like children being told by our parents we should do such, so the family can achieve such. Only to see our parents eating a totally different meal to what we eat.

  12. Smiley July 21, 2016 at 8:28 am

    So we follow the rest of the corruption and immoral lives of bigger countries with no regard for the feelings of Barbarians.We find out about important and life-changing decisions after they were signed ,sealed and delivered.we become a laughing stock to countries with sensible leadership.DlP/BlP all behave arrogant and couldn’t careless about the people.Power corrupts.I am not happy with any of them. Follow Trinidad in the matter and hear from the people who vote for you what we want.America and the bigger nations are so messed up,can’t we learn from their mistakes and do better ? No right thinking Government will bow to the pressures of this agreement at the peril of their people.we will reap what we sow.God help us.LET BARBADIANS HAVE A SAY IN MATTERS THAT WILL EFFECT US AND OUR CHILDREN NOW!!!

  13. J. Payne July 22, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Unsign from the court. Hold a referendum. Let the people decide if they want death penalty or not.

  14. J. Payne July 22, 2016 at 8:33 am

    What would the UN say? We think you all would be better governed without the death penalty if it was. Ones to be retained.

  15. J. Payne July 22, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    CORRECTION (autocorrect error)
    If a referendum was held. What would the UN and IACHR etc say? We think you all would be better governed without the death penalty it it was decided to be retained by the electorate via referendum? Those orgs. have no such power to overturn a referendum. Esp. As they pay no taxes about hay so. Anyway some other commentators brought up good points the judges of the IACHR said they have a duty to bring about the gay rights in the Caribbean using the same means as how they intend to do away with the death penalty. The funny thing about this IACHR court is even as a colony the UK wasn’t as activist in telling Barbados what to do. Barbados ran from water and straight into the fire. IACHR have laundry list of policies Barbados must implement. So much for independence.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *