Shattered by the gruesome killing of two of his constituents, Member of Parliament for St George South Dwight Sutherland wants the killer or killers to hang.
Sutherland was a close friend and business associate of Vincent Robinson, 80, the owner of Prerogative House in Prerogative, St George, who, along with the caretaker, Guyanese Tony Singh, 49, was slashed to death at the property sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Robinson’s body was found at the front door of the guest house in a pool of blood, while Singh’s body was discovered upstairs in a bedroom.
While Robinson’s daughter Joan Smith, who made the horrific discovery, was much too distraught to talk, a clearly upset Sutherland said it was time to revisit the issue of the death penalty – which remains in the statute books – and hang those who commit such monstrous crimes.
“I think that people ought to pay for these murders. You can’t just feel comfortable to sit down at Dodds Her Majesty Prison for 17 years and then return to society after a crime such as this one,” the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) legislator said in an apparent reference to the release of convicted killers who have spent time behind bars.
Last year of Arleigh Hector James, who had been found guilty and sentenced to hang in 1996 for the murder of his wife and stepdaughter two years earlier, and Adrian Fitzgerald Peter Bradshaw, who had once terrorized Barbados in the 80’s along with infamous criminals Winston Hall and David Oliver, and was incarcerated back in 1985 for the brutal murder of 74-year-old plantation owner Cyril Sisnett, were released from jail to the dismay of many Barbadians.
“I think stiffer penalties must be enforced on persons who are found guilty of these acts of murder and if it takes bringing back hanging to restore our society then I am all for it.
“I don’t see nothing wrong with bringing back some level of peace and quiet and allowing our citizens to feel comfortable and not be afraid that when they close the doors at night that someone is out there lurking around,” Sutherland said
The parliamentarian also called on both Government and Opposition to join forces in the fight against rising violence, which has gripped the country in recent times.
“These are some serious times; it calls for unity and it calls for policy initiatives and it calls for us to sit down as citizens and forget the politics. Let us unite as the citizens of this country to return Barbados to a place we can be proud of in terms of a violent-free and incident-free country,” he added.
The quiet and close-knit community was horrified when news broke that the bloodied bodies of the two men were discovered in the quaint two-storey guest house known for hosting weddings, family functions and other events.
Smith was numbed by what she found when she arrived at her father’s residence around 10 a.m. Sunday.
While friends tried to make sense of the share butchery, Robinson’s daughter hugged herself and simply stared into the house.
Mike Hayde was one of Robinson’s close friends who rushed to the murder scene as soon as he got the news.
Hayde told Barbados TODAY he was at a church service when his friend Cyril Codrington rang him.
He missed the first call, but realized something was amiss when Codrington rang again.
“When Cyril called me a second time I had to get up and finally come outside to answer. Cyril told me we have some serious problems here at Prerogative House. He said someone broke into the house and killed Vincent and Tony,” Hayde said, his breathing betraying a mix of pain and anger.
Just last Friday the three men had gathered on the same porch, at the same window that was smashed and possibly used by the killer or killers to enter the building.
The men often spent their evenings relaxing on the veranda, engaging in conversation until the sky darkened.
Hayde said he failed to understand why someone would commit this heinous act against such a kind and generous man.
“Vincent is such a nice guy that if you wanted to have a function here, he would just offer you the place – especially a wake after a funeral – without any charges or anything. He is a very friendly guy.
“I still cannot come to terms with why a person would want to do something like this to Vincent. And the hurtful thing about it is … he just went to America to bury one of his siblings,” he said.
“We have to have this killing stopped somehow or the other. If you do the crime you should pay the penalty and I strongly believe in that,” he aded.
Codrington also was just as conflicted.
He said he and Robinson had been virtually stuck at the hip from the time they were children.
“To talk about it now is not easy because if it is somebody in the district that got killed it hurts. But this is personal, very personal. I am hoping to God that they do get some finality in this murder because it seems as if they can catch these fellas and find some excuse for them.
“Until we get the person who do these crimes punished and punished to fit the crime, it is going to happen all the time” Codrington stated.