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Bishop says no to capital punishment: CEN 10.30.09 p 8. November 5, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Crime.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.


The Bishop of the Bahamas has denounced government plans to restore capital punishment. In his charge to the diocese’s 109th synod gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau, Bishop Laish Boyd told delegates that hanging was “not a deterrent to crime.”

“The disregard for human life and a perverted value system which allows a person to maim or to kill another in a dispute, are realities that capital punishment cannot ever address, even though a hanging may satisfy the desire for retribution,” he said on Oct 21.

Bishop attacks plans to restore capital punishment

On Dec 19, 2008 St Kitts and Nevis hanged Charles Laplance for the 2006 murder of his wife — the first execution in the West Indies since the execution for murder of David Mitchell in the Bahamas in 2000.

Following Mitchell’s hanging there was a de facto ban on capital punishment in the English-speaking Caribbean in the wake of a 2000 ruling by the Privy Council, which lengthened the appeals process for those convicted of capital crimes to approximately five years. The five-year process effectively ended executions, as a separate law banned excessively long imprisonments for prisoners on death row.

Political pressures upon the Caribbean governments to respond to the sharp rise in crime has led to a restoration of capital punishment. In November 2008, the Jamaican parliament rejected a ban on capital punishment, with the Trinidad parliament following suit in February. The Bahamas legislature is currently debating restoring capital punishment. As of Sept 18, 2009 the West Indian nation recorded 59 homicides, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest reported last week.

“The real issue is the fragmentation of relationship and of family life as we know it,” Bishop Boyd said, as “too many children are being born to parents who are unable to socialize and care for them properly. What we need is for parents to be parents and to raise children to honor and respect God and humanity. We have strayed far from this in some quarters and we need to get back to it.”

At their Nov 2008 meeting, the House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of the West Indies called for an end to capital punishment. “Mindful of our Blessed Lord’s repudiation of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ and, that in our prayer, study, reflection and experience, the death penalty has not been proved to be a deterrent,” the bishops called on “our people to stand with us in our opposition to the death penalty.”


1. Dr. Cindy Morris Astwood - December 16, 2009

Thank You, Bishop Boyd, for your clarity of explanation of the root cause….destruction of the family.

It is up to us to actively retrain those who are willing, in the heirarchy of deference within the “family”. We may begin within our individual churches, learning from the teachings of Jesus, extending to the instructions of the apostles in their letters, then changing our own lives accordingly.

We must act immediately – the children have been watching us as elders and examples of how to conduct themselves. How many of us amongst ourselves share our wisdom learned through our struggles? When the younger generations can trust our actions as being honest, then they can embrace our Christ-likeness. Let this be our goal for 2010, to study and apply and forgive ourselves first, allowing Jesus to do a wondrous work in us!

Christ has charged us with rescuing the perishing from the satanic wiles. Trample the Serpent and make him let our people go!

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