Church leaders weigh in on the debate
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Sunday that he remains a strong proponent of capital punishment despite the fact that the last hanging in the country happened back in 2000.
It was revealed last week by Press Secretary Anthony Newbold that the government is preparing to amend legislation to the Juries Act, which will change provisions regarding the death penalty. However, it is unclear the specific nature of the changes at this time.
When asked about his stance on capital punishment yesterday, Dr. Minnis said, its no secret that he supports hanging.
“Let’s get it clear, I am a strong advocate of hanging that will not change but I am bounded by law,” Dr. Minnis said.
While in Opposition back in 2016, Dr. Minnis promised that should he become prime minister, he would take the matter to a referendum.
When asked yesterday by Eyewitness News if that was still his intent, Dr. Minnis said, it would have to be discussed in Cabinet first. He reiterated however, his support for capital punishment.
“Everyone knows, the world knows, I believe in hanging. I have no reservation about hanging someone and moving on,” he said.
Prison officials told Eyewitness News that there is no one under the death sentence at the Bahamas Department of Corrections (BDOC).
The Privy Council in 2011 established that the death penalty should only be reserved for the worst of the worst.
In the case of Maxi Tido, who was sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Donnell Conover, the Privy Council concluded that the worst cases of murder that may call for the imposition of capital punishment would be those in which the murder is carefully planned and carried out in furtherance of another crime, such as robbery, rape, drug smuggling, human smuggling, drug wars, gang enforcement policies, kidnapping, preventing witnesses from testifying, serial killers, as well as the killing of innocents “for the gratification of base desires”.
It was determined that Conover’s murder did not fall into the category of worst of the worst.
A number of local pastors have also weighed in on the issue. Head of Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM) Pastor Dave Burrows told Eyewitness News that he believes the death penalty should be subject to the circumstance.
“I believe that the death penalty is the ultimate execution of the law however it should not be for all murders it has to be reviewed on a case by case basis and the worst cases merit that.. those that are premeditated,” Burrows said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Denzil Rolle of Life Church said he remains on the fence on the issue. He told Eyewitness News however that he believes that government should look at alternative means of punishment.
“I’ve not seen a significant curb in crime as a result of countries that have the death penalty. I’m on the middle on this,” Rolle noted.
He also made reference to the Privy Council, suggesting that The Bahamas should take a second look at its involvement with the country’s laws.
“If it’s on the books and its still on the books, then we should be able to carry out the law. We should not allow persons outside our nation to dictate to us how we should function,” he said.