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Stabroek News

Sympathetic, but not supportive
published: Sunday | October 2, 2005

WHILE SYMPATHETIC with the impassioned calls for the resumption of hanging from a solution-seeking nation tired of the killings, the Church in principle does not support the resumption of capital punishment.

Reverend Johnathan Hemmings, president of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU), reasoned that while many arguably assert that removing the rust from the hangman's noose would prove to be a deterrent in the committing of crimes, he still would not throw his support behind the call for several reasons. "While we sympathise with those who call for the resumption of capital punishment because of the prevailing atmosphere of crime and violence ... there are some drawbacks," he said.

Among the reasons cited by Rev. Hemmings is the probability that the good would suffer for the bad, as innocent persons could be convicted of crimes they did not commit. "One of the dangers (of hanging) is inflicting a punishment that is so final when the system of justice is so imperfect."

Rev. Hemmings also said that the death penalty robs the convicted person of redemption and rehabilitation.

Pastor Richard Keane from Family Church on the Rock in Montego Bay opined that capital punishment was a very controversial issue, but subsequently sided with his fellow man of the cloth. "Based on Christian principles those who believe in (Jesus) Christ will have to walk in the path of forgiveness regardless," argued Pastor Keane.


Still, Deacon Egerton Brown from Faith Chapel United Pentecostal Church (UPC) added that ultimately the decision to grease the gallows once again is in the hands of those God has placed in positions of leadership. "Romans 13 says that the law is not a terror to the just but to the unjust, and that we must obey those who God appoints, as they don't hold the sword in vain," he quickly quoted.

He added: "If we walk contrary to the laws of the land they have the right to pass judgement according to the law." While stating that the privilege to set laws has been placed in the hands of those God appoints, Deacon Brown emphasised that in principle every born-again believer who is a recipient of the sure mercies of God should be inclined to render mercy. "We are not going to agree with it (hanging) because we want to show mercy," stated the man of God.



Should the government go ahead and hang the persons who have been convicted and sentenced to death?

  • ANITA WILLIS, 28, SALES CLERK: Yes, if it would make a difference in society. Probably we would have a reduction in killings, as some people would think twice.

  • ANDRÉ SAMUELS, 17, SALES CLERK: No, because I think they should get another chance. I think if you are hanging the person you are also committing a crime. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  • MAUVA HALSALL, 44, TEACHER: I don't think the government should resume hanging because it does not help the situation. Over the period hanging was taking place people were still being murdered. With regards to the escalation in crime now, many variables have changed.

  • NICKEISHA BARRETT, 23, ASSISTANT MANAGER: We should leave all vengeance to God but men are killing babies so I think, yes, they should resume it.

  • MARCIA RODNEY 43, AGENT: Of course, hanging should be resumed. If you find a forty-year-old man raping a 7-year-old child, why should he be in prison eating taxpayers' money and we working so hard to feed them?

  • ANNA-KAY ROSSWEST, 19, CUSTOMER SERVICE: It does not make any sense, they are on death row and you not killing them. I think they should resume hanging, reason being, sometimes some people do some things that not natural.

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