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Jack: Hangings will curb crime

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

ATTORNEY GENERAL Anand Ramlogan has been mandated to find ways to circumvent international organisations that seek to block convicts in this country from being sent to the gallows.

Ramlogan has been asked to present these ideas to Cabinet today, acting Prime Minister Jack Warner said yesterday. It would be the first step to reinstituting the death penalty in this country, Warner said.

"I have told the Attorney General that when he comes to Cabinet he must tell us what are some of the things we must do so as to free ourselves from these international organisations which try to frustrate the law of the land," Warner said after breakfast with his two sons, Daryan and Daryll, at the Femmes du Chalet in Port of Spain yesterday.

Warner said he was certain the resumption of hangings would curb crime in this country.

"I am convinced that were we to reinstitute hangings, which is the law of the land, it will have a dent on crime. I am convinced," he said.

Anthony Briggs was the last person to face the death penalty in this country. He was hanged on July 28 1999 for the murder of a taxi driver.

The month before Briggs' hanging, reputed drug lord Dole Chadee and eight of his cohorts faced the gallows for the killing of a family in Williamsville. Then Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj spearheaded the hangings when the United National Congress (UNC) was in government. There have been no hangings since 1999.

"It is inconceivable to have 295 (convicts) on death row awaiting the hangman when of course no one is trying to apply the law," Warner said.

"The law says death by hangings. And if a person is convicted and has of course used all his measures of relief up to the Privy Council, why should he stay in the prison anymore?" Warner said.

International human rights group, Amnesty International, has been a vocal opponent to hangings in this country.

Before Chadee and his gang were hanged, Amnesty International had submitted a petition to then President Arthur Robinson urging that he "exercise the prerogative of mercy" and halt the hangings. The petition was signed by more than 100 people, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

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