St. Kitts Hanging Done With “Seriousness and Soberness”

St. Kitts - Nevis Prime Minister - Denzil Douglas

St. Kitts – Nevis’ Prime Minister – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
Janaury 13, 2009 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says last month’s court-ordered hanging of Charles Elroy Laplace was carried out with seriousness and soberness.

Responding to last Friday’s article in Britain’s Daily Mail, Prime Minister Douglas labeled the article as “a sensational submission to a sensationalist tabloid, neither of which has the power to determine who and what we are.”

“That tabloid cannot define us as a people,” said Prime Minister Douglas, on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

He said he was contacted by several persons who expressed their displeasure regarding the “foreign paper, in particular, going to great pains to paint a rather strange and macabre portrait of this country, trying to pass negative comments about our system of jurisprudence and how we live and who we are as a people.”

“They are trying to use the December 2008 execution as some sort of conventional backdrop to define who we are as a people.  I, too, have read the article.  However, my advice is that we see that article for what it is: A sensational submission to a sensationalist tabloid, neither of which has the power to determine who and what we are. That tabloid cannot define us as a people,”

Prime Minister Douglas noted that there are organisations internationally that are, as a matter of principle, oppose the death penalty, whether this penalty is imposed in St. Kitts and Nevis, in the United States, or anywhere else in the world, “they just simply oppose.”

“And so they did, indeed, oppose the execution here.  At the same time there are those who believe that individuals who take another person’s life must be permanently prevented from ever taking anybody else’s life in the future, and these persons, too, have expressed their own opinion in this regard,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Obviously referring to false and malicious statements in the Daily Mail story, Prime Minister Douglas said that “executions are never supposed to be something one celebrates, however, no matter how many individuals or organisations defend this path.”

“Executions are serious, sober acts and should be treated as such. That is exactly how this was treated here in St. Kitts and Nevis last month. Sober, reflective serious,” said the Prime Minister.

He said that it was important to remember that St. Kitts and Nevis is a country of laws.

“St. Kitts and Nevis has an independent judiciary.  The laws of this St. Kitts and Nevis allow for hanging.  At the same time, persons who are sentenced to hang have the right to appeal their convictions.  If their conviction is upheld, however, then the law must be enforced and it is enforced after the necessary constitutional process is followed, where the Prerogative of Mercy Committee meets, the Mercy Committee deliberates, it gives its advice to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in turn sends its advice to the Governor General and in turn the matter is dealt with,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

“It is not simple. It is not straightforward. It is complex and it involves time and quite a bit of soul searching,” he said.

Prime Minister Douglas said the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have accomplished a great deal.

“Let us bear that in mind as we continue to calmly move our great country forward, very much determined to do what we must in order to build for us all, the kind of country we want ““ and that we deserve as a people, a proud people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.

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