Jul 22, 2016 News
It appears as though Guyana has been caught between a rock and a hard place in relation to the issue
of the death penalty.
With the call from the European Union (EU) to have Guyana abolish the death penalty, the Government is in no hurry to do so, since the laws dealing with the countering of terrorism require the existence of the penalty.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman, who chaired the Post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday, said that the existence of the penalty in Guyana’s books has seen the country being brought into compliance with requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – which he said, are the international recognised standards.
“So we are found placed in a position where credible international organisations are calling on us to enact certain laws which we complied with so we may not be put on certain lists, and made a pariah state where terrorism is concerned or the financing of terrorism.” Trotman said.
The Minister added that Guyana has, since in the 1990s, maintained a moratorium notwithstanding, the fact that the death penalty remains on the books. He regarded the statements made by President David Granger about the death penalty a few months ago, as being “rightfully said”.
“As the President rightfully said, don’t relish taking lives wantonly; (we) have no intentions of enforcing it but at the present time, the Government is not in a rush to remove it from the books.”
However, if the Government would be desirous of making this move, widespread consultation will be held with the people of Guyana. He reiterated that, “We don’t feel the impetus placed on us right now,”
Trotman noted that “there is a strong clamour” in several European countries such as France, Belgium, Germany and Turkey for the reinstitution of the death penalty, since several terrorist attacks have been happening on their home soil. He noted that a number of the countries who have been advocating for the removal of the death penalty have been bombing targets and killing innocents and hostiles.
This, he said, raises a question “whether this was not a form of the death penalty being advanced by some of the very countries that are asking to remove from your books the death penalty.”
The Minister would make these statements one day after the EU made a call to Guyana to remove the inhumane act from its statutes. The team is currently in Guyana engaging in talks with several Government Ministers and members of the Judiciary on capital punishment.
Members of the Judiciary were on Wednesday engaged in a Judicial Colloquium on the abolition of the penalty which included discussions on the role of the judicial system and the United Nations in the abolition of the death penalty; and the experiences of other countries in abolishing the penalty, among other topics.
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