Trinidad and St. Lucia Review Hanging Laws

The government in Trinidad and Tobago has been blocked from amending the constitution to make it easier to resume hangings. To pass the legislation to relax time limits, the government requires the support of the opposition. However, the opposition People’s National Movement on Monday said the proposed law was flawed, even though the party supports the death penalty. A government spokesman accused the opposition of frustrating the passage of the bill for political purposes. Earlier negotiations between two sides had given rise to hopes that the changes could become law – as part of efforts to fight a soaring murder rate.

Meanwhile in St. Lucia opposition leader Kenny Anthony has responded to an invitation from Prime Minister Stephenson King to work with the government to remove obstacles to hanging; apparently, the government believes that this would present a solution to a growing murder rate.

King believes that St. Lucia can follow the Trinidad and Tobago’s example in working toward a bipartisan approach to making it easier to carry out hangings. Anthony says the legal impediments are “more onerous” in his country, requiring a special majority as well as a referendum to overcome Privy Council restrictions. The last hanging in St Lucia took place in 1995, and since then eight convicts have had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

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