The debate on capital punishment has become more intense. Public opinion overwhelmingly supports capital punishment but does the government of the Bahamas have the will and courage to enforce laws that are currently on the books?
With 120 murders in 2013 and an average of 119 murders over the past three years, the Bahamas is now in the top 20 homicidal nations in the world per capita. Our national security and tourism product are being threatened by an epidemic level of violent crime including brutal murders, assaults and armed robberies. Bahamians and permanent residents are living in constant fear as an increasing amount of criminals daily terrorize our nation with home invasions, drive-by shootings, witness tampering, vigilante justice and in recent times the killings of innocent women, children and the elderly. We must ensure that events such as the Fox Hill massacre, when four innocent persons were murdered and seven persons injured, would never be repeated.
The Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of National Security have made recent comments on capital punishment which are quite confusing to citizens of the Bahamas. They have suggested that a referendum is needed to deal with the matter of capital punishment.
This is not the case. The only impediment to the enforcement of laws relating to capital punishment is the Privy Council and they all know this. In Chapter 7, Part 3 and Article 105 (1) of the Constitution of the Bahamas, it clearly states that “Parliament may provide for an appeal to lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal established by Part 2 of this chapter to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council or to such other court as may be described by Parliament under this Article either as of right or with the leave of the said Court of Appeal, in such cases other than those referred to in Article 104 (2) of this constitution as may be prescribed by Parliament.
105 (2) Nothing in this Constitution shall affect any right of Her Majesty to grant special leave to appeal from decisions such as are referred to in Paragraph (1) of this Article.
105 (3) Parliament may by LAW provide for the functions required in this Chapter to be exercised by the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council to be exercised by ANY OTHER COURT OF APPEAL for the purpose in substitution for the Judicial Committee.
It is certainly clear that a simple Act of Parliament, passed by legislators can remove the Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal. No referendum is necessary to enforce capital punishment in the Bahamas. All that is needed is to abide by the Constitution. If our political leaders and advocates that oppose the death penalty desire to abolish the death penalty, then they must have the courage to inform the Bahamian people that they intend to amend the constitution rather than hiding behind the Privy Council and our failed justice system. Too many of our elected officials who are supposed to enforce the laws of the land and see that justice is dispensed, have become a part of problem rather than helping with the solution.
We have three options:
(1) We can make the Court of Appeal our final court.
(2) As a sovereign nation, we can establish our own final court of appeal.
(3) We can join the Caribbean Court of Justice.
After forty years of independence, it is time for the Bahamas to truly display our sovereignty and independence from Great Britain. Our leaders may need a paradigm shift in the way they think. Bahamians are capable of running every aspect of this nation and not just the Parliament. Political leaders are ordained by God to do good for the people and uphold justice.
Citizens of Justice (CFJ), an advocacy group led by Bishop Walter Hanchell, is again appealing to the government of the Bahamas to take the necessary actions that are needed to punish criminals that are wreaking havoc on society, murdering innocent persons and terrorizing our once peaceful nation. For years CFJ has demanded that the death penalty be returned and that the Privy Council be removed as our final court of appeal.
The recent rulings of the Privy Council have been contrary to the Constitution of the Bahamas and this body has intentionally removed the possibility of any convicted murderer receiving the death penalty in the Bahamas. Their ruling that capital punishment should only be carried out in cases of the worst of the worst is utter foolishness. All human life has equal value. Any person who intentionally causes the death of another person should be punished in the manner prescribed in the laws of the Bahamas, which are enshrined in our constitution.
Most moral laws have their root in the Bible including capital punishment. In the bible, the death penalty was always mandatory, except in the case of accidental or unintentional death. Here is what God has to say with regards to murder.
Genesis 9:6 “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed”.
Exodus 21:12″He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death.”
Ecclesiastes 8:11 “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be (governments) are ordained of God.”
V4 “For he (rulers) is the minister of God to thee for GOOD. But if thou do that which is evil, BE AFRAID: for he beareth not the sword (capital punishment) in vain: for he is the minister of God, a REVENGER to execute WRATH upon him that doeth evil.”
Matthew 26:52…”All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
Revelation 13:10 …”He that killeth with the sword MUST be killed with the sword.”
Capital punishment was established by God for the protection of society and to eliminate the offender completely from society. Human life is sacred and no man has the right to take another man’s life except in self defense or during a war.
The Holy Bible protects the rights of the victims of murder, violence and crime. Today, in our modern society, some religious leaders, have joined with human rights activists, and have placed the agenda of organizations like Amnesty International above the bible. No matter how gruesome a murder might be, the government, because of pressure from outside forces and the plutocrats in our society, have denied justice to countless murder victims, whose blood cries out daily for justice.
These misdirected conspirators, who have perverted the word of God, take extreme measures in an effort not to enforce moral laws that were instituted by God. They claim that it is inhumane and barbaric for the state to administer capital punishment even on persons who are convicted of brutally and savagely torturing and raping innocent children before viciously taking their precious lives.
As we can see from scriptures in both the old and new testament, the penalty for murder is death. Man, in his wickedness, have turned the truth of God into a lie, by his perverted version of justice. Politicians are attempting to appease the United Nations, who have been successful in having capital punishment banned in the majority of nations around the world and particularly in European nations.
Since Almighty God is the Creator of mankind, it is He alone who knows how to discipline, correct, punish and even destroy man in His righteous judgements. As we take a close look at what God has said with regards to capital punishment, we will observe that not one writer in the Bible ever condemned the act of state killings, hence we must believe the Bible and reject the humanistic beliefs of so many who blatantly oppose the word of God.
We must take note that Jesus never condemned or opposed the Roman Empire for administering the death penalty on anyone, including the two thieves who were crucified with Him. Jesus Christ, the Son of God was Himself a recipient of capital punishment and never called it evil or inhumane in His teachings as claimed by deceivers among us. Many have stated in their folly that a loving God would never sanction hanging or any other form of capital punishment. To the contrary, it was this same loving and JUST God, who instituted stoning to death for many sins, such as stealing, adultery and witchcraft, which were all considered less evil than a brutal murder.
The apostle Paul, who authored one-third of the New Testament and all of the other writers never stated at anytime that state killings were wrong, immoral or inhumane. It is logical to conclude that based on scriptural evidence, state killings should and must be resumed in order to rid the community of wicked persons, who have lost their right to live in our society. Capital punishment was never intended to be a deterrent to murder, even though it is. Its sole purpose was and is to remove murderers permanently from society. We live in a society where a serial killer could savagely slaughter and rape four innocent boys and his homosexual lover and rather than being exterminated from society, he is sentenced to prison with the hopes of coming out and possibly repeating these gruesome acts. We cry shame on our judicial system, the Privy Council and advocates legislators who pervert justice.
A few years ago, there were almost forty convicted murderers waiting on death row to receive their just punishment for intentionally and unlawfully taking the lives of other human beings. Today, we are advised that, the number has dwindled to three or four as a result of manipulating the legal system, long appeals and a legal system that ensures that no convicted murderer will die for their evil deed. The Privy Council, the highest court in our land, does not support capital punishment. A large number of politicians and lawyers have made it clear that they are opposed to capital punishment. Additionally, non-evangelical churches, which are embraced by the majority of our political leaders and most of our upper income families, do not support state killings. They appear to know more than God with their humanistic views and blatant disregard for scripture. These people have been blinded by their zeal to support organizations like Amnesty International and the United Nations. Victims and their families virtually receive no justice and their rights have been constantly violated in the Bahamas.
In response to the above realities in the Bahamas, let us ponder the following questions. Will the laws that are enshrined in our constitution with regards to capital punishment ever be carried out? How long will the votes of the masses and the human rights agenda prevent our political leaders from enforcing the justice that they were sworn to uphold? Will the murder rate continue to rise every year? Why would a judge allow bail to a suspect who has been charged with three murders? Why is corporal punishment no longer administered in our schools and prisons? Why have we not seen stiffer penalties given to violent offenders to discourage the level of brutality in the Bahamas? Innocent blood is crying out from the grave for justice. As a society, we have FAILED miserably in protecting our citizens from violent merciless killers, many of whom are walking the streets or in prison serving a relative short sentence for taking a sacred life. Who will stand up for righteousness, truth and justice in the Bahamas.
Citizens For Justice