Advocates protest resumed hangings in Jamaica

Groups say capital punishment does little to deter crime

Human rights groups Stand Up for Jamaica (SUFJ) and Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) are protesting recent plans announced by National Security Minister Robert Montague regarding the government’s consideration of resuming hanging as capital punishment.

Montague said the National Security state minister, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, is meeting with public offices, including the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, to find if there are any “legal impediments” in resuming capital punishment.The Jamaica human rights advocate groups, however, argue the capital punishment will do little to combat crime.

“Instead of reviving an inhumane and ineffective practice, Government should focus on fast-tracking the critical reforms needed in the justice and law enforcement systems,” they said in a joint statement. “Capital punishment does not address the root causes of crime and this is where we feel Minister Montague should focus his attention.”

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The statement also argued that such a move would risk losing support from many international donors and partners, who have expressed clear opposition against capital punishment. The group also assured the Ministry that they would strong oppose any such measure.

“Minister Montague’s comments about a resumption of the death penalty has fed into the frustrations of many Jamaicans and has served to ignite passions about what is a very widely debated issue,” said SUFJ Executive Director Carla Gullotta. “If we are not careful, this frustration could lead to citizens taking matters into their own hands once they come to appreciate the well-established legal impediments which make the resumption of hanging highly unlikely in Jamaica.”

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