Bishop Hanchell Backs Use Of Death Penalty

Bishop Walter Hanchell.

Bishop Walter Hanchell.


Tribune Staff Reporter


DESPITE calls by Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese Patrick Pinder for regional legislators to abolish the death penalty, another religious leader has come forward with demands for the enforcement of capital punishment.

In a detailed statement to the press on Monday, Citizens for Justice (CFJ) Chairman and local bishop, Walter Hanchell said he disagrees with the archbishop’s position on the issue, calling it “biblically and morally” contrary to scripture.

Bishop Hanchell, of Great Commission Ministries, said his church

remains a firm supporter of “restorative justice” for all those convicted of crimes other than murder.

For those convicted of murder, Bishop Hanchell said they ought to “suffer the penalty of death for their crimes as prescribed by law”.

Archbishop Pinder, last week, in a joint pastoral statement from the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) in commemoration of the Catholic Church’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, urged governments and citizens in the region to abolish capital punishment. Nineteen bishops signed the statement.

The statement said to take away a person’s “basic right to immunity from fatal harm” is to “compromise his/her sacred dignity”.

However, responding to these claims on Monday, Bishop Hanchell suggested that capital punishment was not an act conceived in the mind of any human being, but was an act instituted by God according to scripture to “punish and remove” murderers from society.

“It was never meant to be a deterrent even though studies show that it most certainly is,” wrote Bishop Hanchell.

“Cries that capital punishment is inhumane and barbaric in the twenty first century are irrational when we consider that God has not changed and his word, which is His will for mankind, certainly has not changed and never will.

“The Holy Bible in both the Old Testament and the New Testament commands that persons guilty of committing the crime of murder be punished by death. God is both a God of love and a God of justice.

“All moral laws, including capital punishment, have their root in the Bible. A close study of scripture will reveal that the death penalty was always mandatory except in cases of accidental or intentional death. The word of God is clear concerning punishment for murder and no bishop, government, parliament, judiciary or agency such as Amnesty International, has the power or authority to overrule the laws of God,” he added.

Bishop Hanchell said rather than advocate for the removal of a law, perhaps religious and political leaders should look at the plight of the thousands of children who are left fatherless and the families who mourn the loss of their loved ones because of senseless killings.

“If you believe that human life is a sacred gift from God, then why is the life of a wicked murderer more precious than that of his innocent victim? Nobody has the right to take a life except the state in capital offences.”

Analysing the issue from a political perspective, Bishop Hanchell noted that despite the valiant efforts of the police force, the government and legislators have intentionally refused to enforce the laws of the Bahamas to the detriment of all who live here.

“The ruling Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government led by Prime Minister Perry Christie did not carry out a single execution during their first term in office from 2002 to 2007. While serving as the Leader of the Opposition in 2011, Mr Christie declared his party’s support for capital punishment. Despite record murder statistics in the current term, not a single person has been executed for the hundreds of brutal murders that have been committed in the Bahamas over the past 15 plus years.”

The last time capital punishment was carried out was in 2000.

Bishop Hanchell said politicians who were elected to enforce the law have failed “miserably in this endeavour.”

He added: “In March 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional. Members of Citizens For Justice believe that this ruling was flawed since the Constitution of The Bahamas clearly makes capital punishment legal.

“Capital punishment has long been abolished in the United Kingdom and most of Europe and we are of the view that members of the Privy Council have attempted to bring an end to the practice in The Bahamas.”

In June 2011, the Privy Council overturned Maxo Tido’s death sentence in connection with the killing of 16-year-old Donnell Connover, whose body was found off Cowpen Road, battered and bruised and her skull crushed. There was additional evidence that parts of her body were burned after her death

But the Privy Council concluded that the murder was not an example of the “worst of the worst.”

In November 2011, Parliament passed legislation to define the types of murder constituting the “worst of the worst” guidelines set out by the London court.

Bishop Hanchell added: “A simple legal definition of what the ‘worst of the worst’ or the ‘rarest of the rare’ has caused cold-blooded killers to have their death sentences commuted to life in prison and many are walking the streets because of technicalities in our justice system.”

He said it remains a mystery why Parliament has not addressed this extremely important national concern.

“We are calling again on the government to defend the Constitution of The Bahamas and for Prime Minister Christie to deliver on his promise to the Bahamian people to resume capital punishment. Citizens For Justice also calls for the removal of the Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal.”


Honestman 2 years, 11 months ago

This old chestnut continues to be resurrected whenever crime is perceived to be out of control. It is time to forget about it and concentrate on measures that we CAN take without the need to go through years and years of appeals process. Let start with sacking the PLP and the ineffective Elison Greenslade. Let's allocate some of that VAT income to build new prison blocks at Fox Hill. Then let's recruit a crime Tzar from outside of The Bahamas if necessary who will take these murderous punks off of our streets using as much force as is needed. Finally, we need to appoint an impartial and independent Attorney General who will oversee the complete revamping of our judicial system. This will also cost significant funds. But hanging? Please, let this go.


birdiestrachan 2 years, 11 months ago

Bishop Hancell the first murder recorded in the bible was when Cain killed Able the God of Heaven did not allow any one to harm Cain. There are innocent poor people who are bought guilty. Police work, good lawyers and intelligent Jury all play a part. are you prepared to be the executor? guilty people sometimes go free.

I do believe that persons found guilty should go from the prison to the grave. This taste for blood will not help. You quote the bible the part that suits you. how convenient is that??


EasternGate 2 years, 11 months ago

I fully support capital punishment!


Emac 2 years, 11 months ago

The only way I would support capital punishment is if they start with the wutless members of this current government. Start from the top going down!


bogart 2 years, 11 months ago

Very good Bishop Hanshell the law is the law. The solution for both Bishops is for Bishop Pinder to offer the murderers forgiveness and redemption in heaven after the murderers have first been hung and eliminated from ever committing another crime on the island of Nassau while out on bail wearing an ankle bracelet. Remember there is no such thing as the worst of the worst because as time moves forward there will always be some other worse crime. The UK Lords have either created future employment for themselves as more cases will be sent to them to consider or the UK Lords have indicate that stop bothering them with these cases and be truly an independent nation and deal with these murderers, as a nationalist I believe it is the latter. Factually if a murderer is hung it means that there is absolutely no likely chance of that murderer ever committing another murder in the Bahamas.


steplight 2 years, 11 months ago

Turning Point In Bahamian Political and Policing History - Ural Farquharson as a trusted mulatto hired helper at Westbourne Estates breached the Night Patrol Act 1795 on July 7th 1943,used the blood of Sir Harry Oakes as ink from his skull as the inkwell to pen the Declaration of Independence For A New Haiti in accordance to Preliminary Declaration Article 12 of 1805 Haitian Constitution 1805 at New Providence Island. 73 years after the noose ordered for Oakes son in law kept the world in mystery the Sovereignty of God speaks on the 52nd year of the role women play in policing the Bahamas to point out that the Scapegoat in the crime of the century was Grace Smith a 12 year old student at Glinton's All Age School,Long Island who in late March 1948 the year of the Supermoon gave birth to CalveseSmith the Smoking Gun at Burnt Ground,Long Island and on January 10th 1964 in accordance to the Divine Rights Of Kingship Principle April 11th 1963 nine months after the HOA and RBPF had been forewarned of her role to play in polcing the British territory the Enigmatic birth of the Alpha and Omega Captain G Squad 1982-83.Mr.Ellison Greenslade is hereby reminded why his guaranteed posting as head of the police force back in 1985 would reflect the policide trail of 73 years where the dismantling of the vodou aura of invincibility is about senseless murdering of innocent people,flouting,scapegoating and hubristic ritual crimes of aggression that affords the Affaire de Bizoton Trial 1864 question regarding civility of Haiti,her people and vodou religion to examine the 52nd year completion of the RBPF Living HIstory that unveiled the most wanted man in politcs and policing as a murderer and pedophile headteacher.The death penalty for him seemed to be surrounded with impunity but the burned eyelids,groins and body of the richest foreign investor,most prominent citizen and member of Parliament affords us to look at the flourishing drug trade out of Haiti and the trial of Sir Lynden Pindling as Scapegoat whose three decade life sentence has been penned alongside the woman called the police the police in the Bahamas at this hour.


SP 2 years, 11 months ago

Uphold The Death Penalty, Lethal Injection Is More Humane Way To Dispatch Criminals


jamesg30 2 years, 11 months ago

Does the good Bishop have any idea how many studies have been done, around the world, demonstrating the number of innocent people that have been killed for crimes they did not commit? And you want to kill people based on the confidence we are to have in our legal and judicial system?
Some god loving man he is. So easy to talk tough.


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