Let Bahamians decide on capital punishment, says AG

Attorney General, Senator Carl Bethel.

The Attorney General (AG) weighed in on the reignited public debate surrounding capital punishment Tuesday stating that the issue would most likely be taken to a referendum.

“A standard has been set by the Privy Council as it relates to the worst of the worst when it comes to certain crimes,” Bethel said.

“Now, I’ve said it before but I will say it again, there is always something worse than the worst; so, it’s a standard that might not be able to ever be met.

“So, we feel that there has to be some intervention by statute or by constitutional amendment to settle this issue. That is what we are going to look at.”

Bethel could not confirm if the government would carry out the referendum on capital punishment during its current tenure in office.

But he noted that putting the decision in the hands of Bahamians is the preferable way to decide the way forward on the controversial issue.

“It depends on who the Bahamian people want to determine their future on an issue like this,” he said.

“Do they want some judges in London to rule on it, or do they want to have a say on it.

“I think at the end of the day that is going to be the question. We as a people have to decide where we want to go on this issue. That would be, in my view, the preferable way to go.

“Let the Bahamian people decide, rather than a few unelected judges in the United Kingdom.”

Capital punishment in The Bahamas is a legal punishment, and is conducted by hanging at The Bahamas Department of Corrections (BDOC).

The last execution in the country was on January 6, 2000.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told Eyewitness News that he is a strong proponent of capital punishment.