Barbados is being urged to review its position on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty which is still on the statute books as the ultimate punishment for those who were found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang.
Baroness Patricia Scotland, of the United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group, made this assertion on Monday during a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.
During the call at the Ministry’s Culloden Road, St. Michael, office, the official said she was pleased that Barbados had made a commitment to review the existing legislation and sought clarification on the scope of such changes.
Legislation on the abolition of the mandatory death sentencing has been drafted and is currently under review by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.
McClean pointed out that while the death penalty was a part of the judicial system even though no one had been hanged in the last 30 years, there were strong sentiments expressed by citizens that it should be retained.
“In terms of the legislation, the focus would be on those issues in relation to how it is applied…, but I would prefer to leave it to the legal experts because I know there is a commitment to revisit the legislation,” she added.
In turn, the Baroness said Barbados had always taken the lead on major issues but lamented that it was not in this instance.
“Barbados is always out front; it is never behind and this is one issue and it is unusual. It is also unusual because of the de facto moratorium that nobody has been prosecuted since 1984.
“So, although it is said that there is no appetite for change, the reality is that people in Barbados have been living with this change for almost 30 years. I would very much like to see Barbados lead,” Baroness Scotland emphasised.
McClean gave an undertaking to hold further discussions on the issue with Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.