Jamaica mulls return to hanging

Gallows against a heavy skyKINGSTON, Jamaica – National Security Minister Robert Montague has disclosed that government is exploring the possibility of bringing back the death penalty.

He says government remains committed to mobilizing all the resources at its disposal to wage a “relentless war” against criminal elements intent on destroying the country, and the resumption of hanging is therefore under consideration.

Montague said the state minister in his ministry, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr., was instructed to consult several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, to determine if there are any “legal impediments” to be addressed.

“It cannot be that persons feel comfortable to exact criminality but do not expect to be severely punished. Persons intent on breaking the law must know that the punishment will be sure, swift, and just,” he said at the recent passing out parade and awards ceremony for 324 police constables.

In response, the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) insisted that the death penalty is neither a deterrent to murder nor a solution to the crime problem in Jamaica.

“Those states in the United States which retain and apply the death penalty are not the states which enjoy the lowest murder rates in the US. The active use of the death penalty in Jamaica did not prevent the carnage of murders in 1980,” Opposition spokesman on justice and governance Senator Mark Golding said in a statement.

“Violent crime in Jamaica has several root causes, and curbing it requires solutions that address those causes.”

Golding argued there is a need for employment opportunities and further modernization and strengthening of the justice system.