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CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Feb 2, CMC – National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, says St. Lucians should be allowed to determine whether or not to abolish the death penalty, as he maintained that he had no definitive position on the matter.
Francis, an attorney, who is also the home affairs and justice minister, said that with plans being advanced for constitutional reform, the issue of the death penalty could be put to the people for their consideration.
“I think St. Lucians have to have a say as to whether they still want the death penalty or not,” Francis said on a radio programme here on Friday night.
The former deputy police commissioner told radio listeners that his position on the death penalty is “neither here nor there” and that he supports the law at present.
“I am for the law. The law says that if you kill, there are certain categories of murder; that you should face the hangman,” Francis, said, noting that while St. Lucia has not carried out a hanging in years, it does not mean that it cannot be done in the future.
“That’s what the law says,” he insisted.
St. Lucia has not carried out the death penalty since 1995 when Joseph Solomon was executed after being convicted for murder and rape in 1979.
The London-based international human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has been urging Caribbean countries to abolish the death penalty noting that as of the end of 2017, over 96 per cent of all those on death row in the English-speaking Caribbean were held in three countries namely Barbados (13 per cent), Guyana (32 per cent) and Trinidad and Tobago (52 per cent).