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Death penalty not a ‘priority item’ for govt

There has not been a hanging in The Bahamas since January 2000.

Despite Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ assertion in opposition that the necks of “murderous scum bags” must be “popped”, capital punishment is not a “priority item” for the Minnis government at this time, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.

“No discussion and no focus on that at the moment,” Newbold said during his weekly press briefing when asked about the issue.

“That’s not saying that it will never happen, but at the moment, no, that is not one of the priority items.”

Newbold said capital punishment is not a part of the government’s current legislative agenda.

“There are some other things,” he said, noting that the government is focused on the economy.

In June 2016, Minnis told The Tribune that if he was elected prime minister he would hold a referendum on capital punishment “as soon as possible”.

In the House of Assembly around that same time, he said, “Our economy, Mr. Speaker, will not grow until we solve the issue of crime and as you know crime is a multifaceted issue, which requires multifaceted approaches [involving] the family, the church, civil society and the government.

“[They] must all join forces to combat this societal mess.

“Just the other day, a young man was gunned down at the ATM machine. We must, as hanging is on our books, we must hang these criminals.

“These murderous scumbags must be hung by the neck until they are dead.”

He continued: “The murderous scumbags must be hung as that is on our laws. Hang, hung, whatever…pop their necks.”

There is no mention of capital punishment in the government’s Speech from the Throne.

In 2014, Minnis brought a bill to the House of Assembly to address the death penalty.

The mandatory imposition of the death penalty was abolished in 2006 after the Privy Council ruled it was unconstitutional.

The last hanging took place in January 2000.

Attorney Sean McWeeney, who chaired the Constitutional Commission, had recommended that the Christie government further amend the law to “tie the hands” of the Privy Council on the death penalty issue.

The Bahamas hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records kept at Her Majesty’s Prisons.

Five of them were hanged under the Ingraham administration; 13 were hanged under the 25-year rule of the Pindling government, and the remaining inmates were executed between 1929 and 1967.


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