Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, in response to a question from a media representative on Government’s current position on the death penalty, said Government is in no rush to remove it from the Statute Books.
Deputising for Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister Trotman, during the post- Cabinet media briefing today, recalled that Government participated in a European Union (EU)-sponsored forum in December 2015, on the death penalty.
Recently enacted laws against the financing of terrorism which contain the death penalty, he added, were requested and are in compliance with international recommendations such as those from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Government now finds itself in a position where it has been asked to enact laws such as those to avoid being named a “pariah state”, Minister Trotman said. Since the early 1990s, Government has instituted a moratorium on the death penalty, “As the President rightly said, we don’t relish taking lives wantonly. We have no intentions of enforcing it.”
He added, however that, “At the present time, Government is not rushed to remove it from the books. Before we do so, we will have widespread consultations.”
Recalling the afore mentioned EU-sponsored conference, Minister Trotman noted that it was held just after the Paris, France terrorist attacks which resulted in several persons being killed by Islamic terrorists. Even now, he said, there is a debate as to whether the death penalty should be reinstated. “Even now there is a strong clamour for the return of the death penalty.” He cited the examples of reprisal attacks, by EU states such as France following terror attacks, in Syria, Iraq and Libya against persons or targets deemed responsible.
He said, “The question has been asked whether bombing communities from 30,000 feet above and killing persons including some innocents, because bombs don’t differentiate between hostiles and innocents, whether in a sense this is not a form of the death penalty being advanced by some of the same countries that are asking you to remove from your books, the death penalty.”
Guyana is not involved in any conflicts or bombings, unlike EU states where ‘Far Right Parties’ are calling for the return of death penalties, he further noted. The matter remains under active consideration by Government, the Minister stated.