Bahamian Pastors Blast Privy Council Ruling

Thursday 23rd, June 2011 / 09:10 Published by

A group of Bahamian pastors are outraged over the Privy Council ruling last week that overturned the death sentence of Maxo Tido.

The Privy Council thought the murder was appalling, but not so bad as to warrant execution.

Tido was convicted of the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Donnell Conover, who he raped and beat to death before buring her body.

The pastors, in a statment released to the media, said, “We are alarmed that those five law lords do not believe that this heinous murder falls in the category of those that deserve the death penalty.

“Essentially, this ruling of the law lords is more than a ruling.  It is a message to all would be murderers, and the message is: ‘As long as you can benchmark your murder to the level of brutality of murders like that of Donnell Conover’s, you can fully expect to be spared the death penalty’.”

The statement was signed by Bishop Philemon Wilson of Faith Temple Ministries, Rev. Dr. Stanley Ferguson of New Free Community Baptist Church, Bishop Gregory Minnis Sr. or New Jerusalem Kingdom Ministries, Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming of St. Paul’s Baptist Church and Bishop Simeon Hall of New Covenant Baptist Church.

A representative of Southland Church of God also signed the statement.

The pastors called for a true implementation of  ‘swift justice’ so that cases are resolved much quicker than they are now.

“We are convinced that the present national crisis calls for more courts and judges so that the length of time a person spends awaiting trial is not an issue.”

Government needs to “take the necessary steps for a referendum to amend our Constitution to allow our elected representatives to be able to pass laws that specifically state the penalties for crimes, so as to reflect the general sentencing views of the electorate and not those magistrates and judges, who are appointed and not elected, and thus not the representatives of the electorate.

“With such an amendment, for example, Parliament can pass legislation that will levy specific lengthy sentences (10 years) on individuals found in possession of illegal guns and who use guns in the perpetration of crimes.”

Prime Minister Ingraham recently said his government would address the issue very soon by introducing a bill to address the death penalty issue.

The pastors would like to see bail for such offenses increased to $250,000.

Despite four criminal courts operating in Nassau, the case backlog is outrageous and nonsensical trial delays are all too common.

Many unethical Bahamian attorneys use the dysfunctional court system to their advantage by creating even more delays.

Prosecutors are also to blame as they are often unprepared, plus many witnesses do not show up for court.

Judges do not escape responsibility either as many are either ignorant of the law, or in collusion with corrupt attorneys who engineer delays to their client’s advantage.

Another point the pastors mentioned is the ridiculously low conviction rates.

According to a recently released prison report for the year 2010, only two people were convicted of murder last year, depsite dozens of murders.

““This clearly shows a broken system in need of repair,” the pastors said.

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