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Hangings would make a difference, say senior Bahamas police officers
Published on December 26, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Two senior police officers agreed on Monday that the resumption of capital punishment would make a difference in The Bahamas, although one doubted it would make as big a difference as some people think.

“There are some persons, prison is for them,” said Superintendent Stephen Dean, who was suggesting that these kinds of criminals don’t mind being in prison.

“No form of rehabilitation can do anything for them. There are some situations; the only thing that can stop a criminal and put him to rest is capital punishment, an end.

“It works and it also has an effect on others because right now what criminals are seeing is that I can get off... I can get out on bail.”

Superintendent Paul Rolle
Dean and Central Detective Unit (CDU) chief, Superintendent Paul Rolle, were guests on the Star FM and Guardian Radio talk show ‘Jeffrey’ with Jeff Lloyd.

Lloyd asked them if they thought capital punishment would make a difference in the country.

Rolle said, while he believes capital punishment would make a difference, it may not create the level of deterrence that some people want to see.

“I think when you look and listen to these criminals that we bring into custody for these serious offences, they don’t want to go to prison,” he said.

“They have hard mouth when they are with their peers and their friends. But when you bring them in and get them by themselves they are completely different.

“We haven’t had capital punishment for a long time; they were wide and few.

“Whereas capital punishment might put fear in some people, I don’t know if it would have that level of deterrence that people in the community are calling for.”

The last time capital punishment was carried out in The Bahamas was on January 6, 2000, when David Mitchell was hanged.

In March 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional.

Although capital punishment remains on the books, the Privy Council has said that death penalty cases must satisfy a two-part test. Firstly, the death sentence must only be given in cases where the facts of the offences are the most extreme and exceptional - “the worst of the worst” or “the rarest of the rare”.

Secondly, there must be no reasonable prospect of reform, and death would be the only way punishment is achieved.

Death row convicts who lose their appeals at the Court of Appeal can appeal to the Privy Council and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney and MP Alfred Gray have all said they support capital punishment.

Gray went a step further recently, saying he wants public hangings on Bay Street.

Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian
Reads: 2175

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