Former Chairman of the Bahamas National Advisory Council on Crime Bishop Simeon Hall said yesterday that murderers should be “removed from civil society” for the rest of their lives.
His comments came in light of the murder of Inspector Claris Blatch, the aide-de-camp to the governor general, on Wednesday.
Blatch was shot outside H. O. Nash Junior High School on Dolphin Drive while he waited in his car to pick up his son, according to police. Blatch’s daughter was also in the car. Police believe the motive was robbery.
“Any person convicted of murder should be removed from civil society for the rest of his life,” Hall said.
“Since we no longer hang persons convicted of murder, they should know they will spend the rest of their natural life away from society.”
The death penalty has not been carried out in The Bahamas since 2000, when David Mitchell was hanged for murdering two German tourists.
In 2006, the Privy Council ruled the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional. Since then, judges in The Bahamas have used their discretion in determining whether to hand down the death penalty.
Hall said murders are happening throughout the country because criminals “do not fear the law, the justice system nor the present penalties for murder”.
“Regardless what the authorities say, criminals are not moved by crime reports or pronouncements. Indeed, some criminals are laughing at us,” he said.
Hall also made an obvious reference to the 2011 Maxo Tido case in which the Privy Council found that the murder of 16-year-old Donell Conover was not the worst of the worst.
Her battered body was found in a quarry pit on May 1, 2002. She sustained severe head injuries that could have been caused by her being bludgeoned or by a car passing over her head, according to evidence. There was also evidence her body had been burned.
Many Bahamians were outraged that the Privy Council found that that gruesome murder did not warrant the death penalty.
Hall said, given that Conover’s murder was not considered the worst of the worst, it does not appear likely that the merciless slaying of a policeman will meet the standard.