PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he supports the death penalty and that his Administration is working towards having it implemented as it moves to deal with those citizens bent on committing murder “with impunity” in Trinidad and Tobago.
Rowley, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet news conference, told reporters that “this fight against the criminal element is a national crusade” and urged the public to assist the police in carrying out their investigations.
Rowley said that even when people are incarcerated “they are running criminal empires from inside the jail and we are going to take steps to ensure that this does not go on”.
He told reporters he does not care whatever the backlash could be from his position but he wanted to make it abundantly clear that he is a “firm believer in capital punishment”.
“It is the punishment for the crime,” he said, noting that “it is my view that people acting with impunity that nothing will happen” when they commit the crimes including murder.
Rowley said that Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has set up, in his office, the mechanism to monitor people who have been convicted of murder and is moving to ensure that they pay the penalty, keeping in mind the Pratt and Morgan ruling of the Privy Council that people on death row for more than five years can’t be executed.
Despite Trinidad and Tobago hosting the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the oil- rich twin island republic still uses the London-based court as its final court.
The last execution in Trinidad and Tobago occurred on July 28, 1999 when Anthony Briggs was hanged after being convicted for the August 1992 murder of a taxi driver, Siewdath Ramkissoon during a robbery in August 1992.
Briggs was hanged just over a month after the members of the Dole Chadee gang were hanged over a three-day period.