THE EDITOR: Roman Catholic priest Fr Ian Taylor made a bold declaration approximately one year ago. He called for the death penalty to be reinstated to kill murderers. This was condemned almost immediately by then archbishop Joseph Harris. He said it could never be an answer to solve the crime epidemic because this is “totally against what the church stands for.”
RC priest Fr Gregory Augustine, in response to Taylor’s comments, said: “The church is an institution that does not believe in capital punishment.”
He said serious crimes ought to be fully explored so as to determine the root cause because these were not natural.
“We as a society have to spend more time developing that human aspect,” he said.
While Augustine is spending his time developing the human aspect, crime has gotten worse and one year later citizens are still being subjected to gun attacks, kidnappings, rape, arson attacks, domestic violence, and other violent and heinous crimes. We need a solution now.
If would-be criminals know without a shadow of a doubt that they will be put to death should they murder with premeditation, most of them are less likely to kill.
Capital punishment is the ultimate warning against all crimes. If the criminal knows the justice system will not stop from putting him to death, then the system appears more fearful to him. Hence, he is less inclined to commit a serious crime. He may have no intention of killing anyone in the process of robbing them, but is much more apprehensive about the possibility if he knows in his mind he will be executed.
Fr Taylor was very wise in his call for the reinstatement of the death penalty for murderers because the taking of the murderer’s life sends a strong message that murder is not acceptable and will not go unpunished. Retribution has its place in religion which historically maintains that it is proper to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life.
It is true that the victim and the victim’s family cannot be restored to the status which existed before the murder, but at least an execution brings some form of closure to the murderer’s crime and ensures that he will not repeat his crime, resulting in 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.
Life seems to have no value in Trinidad any longer. For justice to prevail, some killers just need to be put to death.