Friday 29th April, 2005

Clevon Raphael
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Hang them high

One can understand the anger and perhaps desperation of Prime Minister Patrick Manning over the heinous crime situation rocking the country today.

So many anti-crime plans instituted under his watch have turned out to be damp squids that the bandits are killing at will. And any doubt about their don’t-care attitude and willingness to do anything in prosecuting their nefarious activities would have been laid to rest with last week’s gunning down of the young man on the Brian Lara Promenade.

Sixteen men went after their quarry, none of them wearing a mask. The brazenness of that attack was a sure sign of the contempt in which they hold us.

But I really cannot see how flogging prisoners is going to come to grips with or bring some measure of relief to the clearly untenable situation.

So much is his frustration that Manning forgot the penalty is already there. Perhaps it is not being ordered by judges as frequently as it ought to be.

But as I said, beating these miscreants is not the way out. It has not worked before nor will it work at this time. The horse has already bolted the stable. The places to administer a good cut tail are in the home and at school.

There are many among us who could testify to the effectiveness of the whip to an erring child. Just the mention of it sent shivers through our youthful spines.

I am not advocating brutality. Some parents overdo it by using brute force on their children. That is being counter productive, the same way beating a big man in the name of the law is.

We all agree that the crime scenario has gotten out of control and that we need to take drastic steps to deal with a drastic situation where these lawless elements seem to have the upper hand on law-abiding citizens.

But the only thing you will achieve by beating big, hard-back criminals is a firmer resolve to continue their wicked ways: “Oh you beat me, ah go take out in society even more.”

I cannot agree more with Prof Deosaran’s views on how to stem the activities of these criminals—fast arrest and speedy trials.

The criminal justice system needs to be perked up to allow for the accused to have their matters heard on a timely basis.

It is no secret that the granting of bail is another avenue for these criminals to take advantage of the system. While out on bail they commit more crimes to raise their lawyer’s fees.

Too often we hear of cases being dragged out in the courts for years. There must be a co-ordinated effort by the law makers, the police and the Judiciary for a holistic approach in dealing with this major problem.

I am a firm believer in capital punishment and as such I will always advocate the popping of these cowards’ necks.

When the UNC was in office and Dole Chadee and his cohorts were sent packing to meet their creator, the killings subsided for a while, which, regardless of what others might say, demonstrated that capital punishment is a deterrent.

Not in an absolute sense. It will not stop murders but in a country where the lawless arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies, we must take all legal steps to deal with this cancer.

I don’t care whether it is a deterrent or not, the fact is it is on the statutes and we should not hesitate to implement it.

Daily people are being jailed for other offences but the lawbreakers are still committing those same offences.

To say capital punishment is not a deterrent so it should not be carried out just does not make practical sense.

I will never forget the murder accused who publicly boasted in the court that he killed because the State stopped hanging in T&T.

See what I mean? Those evil characters know fully well that they can kill and later rest in jail for several years where they are guaranteed three square meals daily at our expense.

And if so sexually oriented, they could also engage in that kind of gratification in the sanctuary of their prison cells.

Last week my friend Maxie Cuffie, this administration’s supreme spin guru, told a radio station that the State could not hang anyone on death row at this time because of the legal process.

Maxie, who was economical with his facts, declined to give the exact status of these cases because, I think, he did not want to disclose what the State may be doing to resume hangings.

But Maxie, in view of the fact that the majority of citizens are in favour of state executions, isn’t it incumbent upon the State to let us know exactly what is being done to carry out this ultimate penalty?

My understanding is that the onus is clearly on the State to resume hangings.

Or is it that somebody in the upper echelons of the State is against capital punishment and so has no interest in seeing that it is carried out?

To be continued next week



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