Government Minister Donville Inniss has declared his hand on capital punishment – he has no objections to it, but it is no cure-all for crime.
Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Michael East branch of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at the St Giles Primary School over the weekend, the Member of Parliament for St James South said once an individual was found guilty of murder without a shadow of a doubt and had exhausted all of the judicial processes, the penalty should fit the crime.
At the same time, he said, hanging as a punishment was not a deterrent to the gun-related crimes plaguing the island.
Inniss, the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, commended the Royal Barbados Police Force for its record of apprehending criminals, particularly those responsible for murder, while he chastised people who support those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Those parents and friends who go into the court making a noise when their wicked children are apprehended and held before the court, and say how wonderful their children are, they should be arrested too for the kind of children they have unleashed on this society,” Inniss said.
He added that there were some fundamental challenges that must be overcome in order to deal with the crime situation, some of which were identified several years ago when the now late Prime Minister David Thompson had expressed concern about crime and violence.
“When the late Prime Minister David Thompson and others had talked about crime and violence, it was against the backdrop of the way in which the young people in this society were going. It was against the backdrop of a feeling that we were focusing more on material things rather than the things that were morally and socially acceptable,” Inniss pointed out, adding that he had no doubt the upsurge in gun-related crime in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean, was also closely related to the illegal drugs trade.
He further charged that there were too many parents who were not pulling their weight.
“Each one of us . . . must ask ourselves if we are doing the very best when it comes to raising our children. Each one of us mothers and fathers must ask ourselves if we are setting the best example for our children. Each one of us as mothers and fathers must ask ourselves if we are instilling respect and discipline in the household, because if you cannot get it right in the house, don’t expect it will be right in the school system out there on the streets.
“Too many parents are passing that responsibility on to someone else. It does not take much out of me as a father of two boys to ask them how they are doing and point out where they are going wrong and to instill some discipline in them. At some time I have to unleash them onto the wider society,” Inniss contended.