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The only just and fitting punishment


Published: Sep 06, 2017

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Dear Editor,

 

The recent murder of an 8-month-old infant has horrified and incensed many of us. But I wonder if we as a nation are sufficiently horrified and incensed to ensure that all convicted murderers receive the just and fitting punishment for their crime, which is swift execution by the state. From the looks of things, it does not appear so. Therefore, the carnage will continue, because we continue to send the message to murderers that they can take the lives of others and the state will spare theirs.

Recently, while speaking about our nation’s excessively high crime rate, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said, “We are proponents of the death penalty. Our leader talked about it during the campaign trail, and we have not changed our position on that. We will do what we promised we will do.” I pray that those words will be put into action very soon, but I wonder what else needs to happen before they are.

I’m eagerly waiting to see if, when and how Prime Minister Minnis and his government will seek to enforce the death penalty. If they do anything short of giving Bahamian voters the opportunity to amend the constitution in such a way to ensure that convicted murderers are swiftly executed by the state, I and others will know they are not serious and are merely engaging in BTNA (big talk, no action).

The reality is that as long as we have a so-called system of justice where people can take a person’s life and then be rewarded by having theirs spared (by being sentenced to prison), we will continue to match and break our record rates of murder, year after year. Yes, even when convicted murderers are given a sentence of life in prison, it is more like a reward, because the just and proper sentence for murder is death. And what is worse is that some convicted murderers are given less-than-life sentences.

No doubt, some will chide me for calling for capital punishment. But the reality is that even though it has been more than 17 years since the Bahamian state has executed a convicted murderer, we still have capital punishment. It’s just not in the state’s hands; it’s in private hands. And we will continue to have an ever-increasing murder rate and the continuation of privatized capital punishment if the government refuses to do its job and carry out state-sanctioned capital punishment.

To be clear, I do not support the death penalty as a reaction to our high rate of murder (even though I firmly believe that swift and consistent execution of convicted murderers will reduce our high rate of murder). I support the death penalty because it is the only just and fitting punishment for the crime of murder.

 

– Pastor Cedric Moss

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