Trinidad and Tobago is quickly becoming the murder capital of the world. There have been many calls for a more consistent use of capital punishment by many, and rightly so.
Capital punishment is a deterrent in the sense that the person who receives the death penalty cannot repeat the crime or crimes they were convicted of.
The death penalty can be described as a form of self-defence of the state to protect its people against destruction of innocent and valuable lives and properties brought on by drug-related crimes.
Gang warfare and the flow of cocaine and other illegal drugs continue to undermine our faith in the Government’s ability to maintain peace and order in the country. It is severely hampering our economic development and prosperity. Some people have to constantly look over their shoulders for criminals, as many are living in fear for their lives.
Countless studies in the fields of psychology, sociology and criminology have established that certainty of punishment, rather than severity of it, is the decisive crime deterrent. The death penalty must be administered rightly and swiftly in order for it to be effective in putting a dent in crime. Lawmakers should also focus on fixing law enforcement and the judicial system, and find creative legislation to ensure that crime elicits swift, severe, consistent and certain punishment.
Too many murderers are getting away with murder.
By failing to execute murderers we send a message that implies a lessened regard for the value of the lives of victims. It is true that the victim and the victim’s family cannot be restored to the status which existed before the murder took place, but at least an execution brings some form of closure to the murderer’s crime and ensures that the murderer will not be able to repeat his/her crime and create more victims. For the most cruel and heinous crimes, the ones for which the death penalty is applied, offenders deserve the worst punishment possible and that is the death penalty. Any lesser punishment would undermine the value society places on protecting lives.