ONLY three convicted killers currently on Death Row can be considered to be hanged, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.
Rowley made the statement as he sought to show that the return to hanging may not necessarily be the best way forward to combat the crime scourge.
He said the bandying about of the death penalty as the answer to the country’s crime problem was nothing more than “political gimmickry”.
Rowley was speaking during a press conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader, 11 Charles Street, Port of Spain.
An Opposition team led by Rowley met with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Cabinet last Thursday at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s to discuss a way to arrest the crime problem.
During that meeting, Rowley said he presented a ten-point plan to Persad-Bissessar (See accompanying story).
The Government in turn raised the matter of hanging, Rowley said.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to upholding the relevant law but the Government must do all the administrative things to comply with the guidelines set out by the Privy Council. We await any new proposals of the Government on this matter, but will not be encouraged to make bad law in the process of attempting to accelerate expectations.”
Rowley said, however, the death penalty comes at the end of the process.
Persad-Bissessar, Rowley and their respective teams are scheduled to meet again Thursday.
So far, there has not been any agreement on the measures to be taken, Rowley said.
“If they will not do these things (the ten proposals presented) then the population must know that and must take it into account as to whether these are things that should be done to give us a better chance in fighting crime and improving our security,” Rowley said.
“That is why I am here this morning to let you and the population know, or let the population know through you, that these are the proposals we have put before the Government and we are willing and able to support these proposals with action that is urgent.
“If the Government does not agree with these by putting alternative proposals that we find unacceptable then we will know and if the Government has other proposals that are better than these we will support them,” he said.
Rowley said the country has a crisis on its hands and it is time we turn a new leaf.
He said so far the only crime plan presented by the Government is one of “voopsing, vapsing and blind folding”.