Convicted killer Arleigh Hector James, who is facing strong calls for his deportation to the land of his birth, has found an ally in Edmund Hinkson, an attorney-at-law and Opposition Member of Parliament for St James North.
James received an early release from prison this week after serving 22 years of a life sentence for beheading his 35-year-old wife Debra James. He also slashed his 14-year-old stepdaughter Sabrina to death in a savage cutlass attack back on May 1, 1994. His son Ashley King, who was 13-years-old at the time, escaped death by hiding beneath a bed.
Since James’, release residents of Newbury, St George, where he previously lived, have made it clear they do not want him back, and there have been growing calls for the 59-year-old to be sent back to St Vincent and the Grenadines, where he was born.
The calls have continued despite the fact that King, now 35, has said he had forgiven his father and has called on Barbadians to do the same.
Hinkson, who has practised law for 30 years, addressed the issue last night when he spoke to approximately 25 prospective job trainees at the Weston Community Centre in St James.
“We see a man let out of jail [after] 22 years [for] a double-murder. He served time but nobody wants him round them. That is the reality of Barbados. And they want to send him back to where he born,” the Opposition legislator said as he sought to impress on the trainees the importance of staying out of trouble.
He compared the calls for James’ deportation to the expulsion of convicts from the United States and Canada.
Caribbean countries have long complained about the criminal deportees, insisting many of them had little to no connection to the countries of their birth, having migrated at an early age.
Regional governments have also blamed the deportees for rising crime.
“When Canada and America send back people who serve their time – Barbadians who served their time in jails in Canada or America – we vex with them. Now we doing the same thing.
“I am saying that to show you that we have to keep on the narrow and straight path in terms of the criminal justice system,” Hinkson said.
James, who had lived here for 13 years before his incarceration, was the latest convicted killer granted early release, following the freeing in March of Peter Bradshaw, who, along with the notorious Winston Hall and David Oliver, was convicted in 1985 of the murder of 74-year-old Francia Plantation owner Cyril Sisnett.
Their release, along with the granting of bail to people charged with murder, has caused consternation among the Barbadian public, many of whom have cried injustice.
Attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim has estimated that there may be over 30 alleged murderers out on bail here.
It is an issue that has attracted the attention of Senior Pastor at the Kingdom First International Church Fitzroy Wilson.
The religious leader did not object to granting convicted murderers their freedom. However, he told Barbados TODAY it was critical that the authorities ensured the convicts go through a thorough rehabilitation programme before they are allowed out of jail.
“We have to ensure that they are ready to come back into society,” Wilson said.
The pastor described Barbados as an unforgiving society, which was generally unwilling to give people a second chance.
He avoided being critical of this mindset, stating that while the church preached forgiveness, it also needed to be assured that any rehabilitation programme undertaken by the authorities would have a profoundly positive effect on those being prepared for reintegration into the society.
“Forgiveness does not mean that you don’t use wisdom in terms of how you interact with someone who has injured you. I may forgive you but issues of trust might still be there.
“I am at a point where I am not holding this thing against you, but at the same time, I don’t feel an obligation to you . . . don’t ask me to invite you to dinner,” he said.