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‘Who holds the future - London or ourselves?’

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter 

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMIANS will have to decide whether they want a group of judges in London to determine their future or if they want to have control over it themselves, Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday as public debate on capital punishment has reignited.

Mr Bethel said yesterday the government believes there must be some intervention when it comes to hanging, whether it be by statute law or by constitutional amendment, despite the Privy Council’s “worst of the worst” standard.

A constitutional amendment would mean a referendum would have to take place before any changes are made.

This is not the only possible change up for consideration.

Presently, drafting personnel are also looking at fixed election dates, Mr Bethel told reporters.

He said: “We have been looking at several drafts on terms like the fixed election date, which was a promise and a lot of thought has been going into this question of capital punishment. You know a standard has been set by the Privy Council of the ‘worst of the worst’.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is always something worse than the worst so it’s a standard that could might never be met.

“We feel that there has to be some intervention whether by statute law or by constitutional amendment to settle this issue and so that is what we are going to look at. And so, if it’s a constitutional matter, it’ll go to the people. If it’s merely a statutory matter it’ll go to Parliament.”

Asked to say how realistic it was for this to be done within this term, Mr Bethel said: “It depends on who the Bahamian people want to determine their future on an issue like this. Do they want some judges in London to do it or do they want to have a say on it?

“I think at the end of the day that’s going to be the question.

“We as a people will have to decide where we want to go on this issue that would be in my view the preferable way to go - let the Bahamian people decide rather than a few unelected judges in the United Kingdom.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he has no issue “hanging” any person convicted of murder and “moving on”.

The comment came as he insisted his long-held views on capital punishment have not wavered since being elected to office in May 2017.

Addressing reporters as he left Calvary Deliverance Church following a service, Dr Minnis made it clear if it was up to him, people convicted of murder would be hanged without any remorse on his part.

He was responding to questions over the potential for amendments to the Juries Act as referred to by Press Secretary Anthony Newbold last week.

According to Mr Newbold, the House of Assembly is expected to soon debate amendments to the Juries Act, clearing up some provisions to the death penalty for murder.

In response Sunday, Dr Minnis said: “Let’s get it clear, I am a strong advocate of hanging. That has not changed. That will not change. However, I am bounded by the laws. But I am a strong advocate for hanging.”

When asked if there were plans being considered by his administration to take the capital punishment debate to referendum this term, Dr Minnis said the issue remains a matter that has to be discussed by his Cabinet before any further moves.

Nonetheless he said: “What everybody knows, the world knows, the Bahamas knows that I believe in hanging. I have no reservations about hanging you and moving on.”

Although the law allows for capital punishment, the death penalty has not been carried out since January 2000. That year, David Mitchell was executed for stabbing two German tourists to death.

Comments

BahamaLlama 5 years, 7 months ago

Great question Carl, and thanks for asking. Considering the incompetence of our politicians, and the "destiny" we're heading to....

  • The older generation who lived through independence to see the mess it is now, would probably vote London.
  • The students and millennials who are constantly cut out of everything and kept down, would probably vote London.
  • The businesses who are tied up with constant government meddling, would probably vote London.
  • The victims in court cases who have no hope of justice in a corrupt law enforcement and judicial system, would probably vote London.
  • The tourists who are victims of price-gouging and even criminal attacks, would probably vote London.

In fact, the only groups who definitely wouldn't, are the bottom 20% of the electorate, and the politicians who have the control.

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Bonefishpete 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't get it. You say the Bahamas got majority rule in 67'. Got independence in 73'. What part of Independence am I missing?

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TalRussell 5 years, 7 months ago

  • July 8, 2014 -

  • Former Comrade Attorney General Carl Wilshire under Papa Hubert regime was living the Privy Council of the United England legal dream when it was announced that he is taking his libel case against Cable Bahamaland and Carter Broadcasting Media to the colony of islands highest Englishman's court across the pond.
    Red Shirts opposition Senator Carl Wilshire was granted leave in the Court of Appeal yesterday to appeal a September 2013 ruling to the English-based Privy Council concerning damages for a report that was broadcast three times on the news, which he claims was defamatory and untrue. Carl Wilshire had sought $100,000 in damages from the appellate court. -
    { And, I didn't even have make this one up }.

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by TalRussell

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hrysippus 5 years, 7 months ago

Most things in life can be looked at from an economic viewpoint. How much does a decision by the Privy Council cost our country? How much do we have to pay to this court each year? Now how much would the same adjudication cost if vested in the Caribbean Criminal Court? I suspect that we have a very valuable gift in the Privy Council as it may be the most respected and definitely the longest established Court of Appeal in Existence. Looking at the appallingly bbad decisions of previous elected state officials I fully expect that this baby will be thrown out with the proverbial bathwater of our previous colonialism. Suck Teeth...….

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bogart 5 years, 7 months ago

Fer persons proudly wearing we Bahamian flag ...an what it meaning......right ups on da suit collar day in day out....on tv...in da peoples Parliament....picture in papers wid it..... the answer is obvious...

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TalRussell 5 years, 7 months ago

The Comrade Queen - she goin' be mad - if she gets wind Carl Wilshire's wanting brungs close what can best be described as Privy Council acting as "sound judicial surveillance from England" over our own local rulings in law by we Judges and Juries. Nothing wrong different sets English eyes across the pond to be from time to time peeking in on our Bahamaland justice system.... More so when politicians are eager snap one neck God gave us..... necks children's too.

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sirD 5 years, 7 months ago

I know and have Met Carl, he wishes the best for us, the Bahamians, not his pocketbook. I met him when he was broke. He knows our dilemas

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Giordano 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, "HANGING" is elegal in The Bahamas .If anyone with local authority wants to make a move regarding this controversial issue,they should prioritize steps further like the mention reforms or amendments to the juries act and this is only because of the credibility problem residing in the local justice department. Some things go first and others,go after. In my personal opinion : The State should not kill anyone convicted of malicious,intentional murder without,first,legally,giving that privilege,to an elected member of the victim's family to do so,considering the cures effect in the vengiance. Before anything further,legal justice got to be served,otherwise we will create a more lethal,volatile,dangerous society. For instance,a convicted murderous,under that circumstances,may become more dangerous and lethal,KNOWING that when he or she gets caught,hanging or the death penalty is waiting for them and they,very well,may continue killing others,including innocent people. Things of these kinds, got to be done right !. Police Bail,actually,is giving place to more murders than the court bail itself while the intention to commit murder is still in its primary stage. Suicidal society is unacceptable in the 21 century. We need leaders with the right vission to solve the most concerning problems in this actual society.

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