Attorney General Dale Marshall has been lambasted by a veteran attorney-at-law for suggesting that judges will once again be able to sentence convicted murderers to hang as “justice being served”.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed last week by both Houses of Parliament, deleting the provision in Section 15 that made it the mandatory death sentence for murder.
Speaking at a St Peter Branch meeting on Sunday night, Marshall supported the amendment, saying it would allow judges to use their discretion to sentence convicted murderers to hang.
The Caribbean Court of Justice had previously ruled that a mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional.
But in a press release, Robert Bobby Clarke contended that the provision did not equate to justice being served.
“It is immature that the present Attorney General, Dale Marshall in reference to the bringing back of hanging of persons who carried out murder states that justice might now be better served. How? How could the state killing of a murderer be any different from a murderer killing an innocent person?” he questioned.
“In my view, murder by the state is more horrible because intelligent members of Parliament could come to a conclusion that to hang a human being at Dodds Prison is somehow more decent, more loving, more caring or more understanding than a crime of passion like when a man kills his woman.”
Clarke also shot down the legislation, saying it would “not prevent the young people who are now part of the spate of crimes from continuing their nefarious acts.”
Instead, he said while it was understood that a person who committed murder needed to be punished, a fitting punishment needed to be handed down based on the specifics of the particular murder.
“Not only should the murderers be put through a learning experience at the prison, but all of the prisoners should be schooled in various trades and disciplines so that they can contribute meaningfully to society. They can open a proper bakery not only to feed the prison but to supply the District Hospitals etc. They can make furniture for the schools,” the press release added.
“There should be an education policy at the prison aimed to develop their skills making them more useful to the total Barbadian society, becoming responsible citizens.”
Clarke also suggested that more attention be paid to the island’s youth from as early as the primary school level.
He said this would provide for early intervention if necessary.
“We in Barbados must be able to recognise persons going off-track and that should really be done at the primary school level between the ages of four and six. It cannot be done later when they have left primary school and have moved on to the age of 15 and 16.
“In my view each primary school should have a trained psychologist attached to the school who can reach and deal
with deviant behavior at the tender age range of four to six,” Clarke said.