?Mr. Speaker, My fellow worthy opponents of the opposition Good Morning. House, today that the death penalty will not serve as a deterrent to crime. Capital punishment is revengeful; it is irrevocably unjust to another innocent human life not to mention how costly it is. California Commission on the fair Administration of Justice, July 1, 2008,Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present system ($137 million per year), the present system after implementation of the reforms … ($232.7 million per year) … and a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty ($11.5 million).” Certainly, The Bahamas Government cannot afford such cost of this magnitude. Considering we already have 22 murders for the year and just in the third month of 2010, if all those persons responsible for these killings were convicted and given the death penalty imagine what it would cost the government. The fact remains that capital punishment is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Even though we are a democratic society with the freedom of choice we as a government should not encourage a kill for kill, no two wrongs make a right, and as a civilized nation, I repeat, taking a life for another life is an injustice to the highest degree. As the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we should never cease in seeking the good of others; even if they deserve to be treated otherwise on the basis of their own incessant wrongdoing. As member of the House of Assembly, I say that capital punishment is discriminatory and illogical and we should not stand for it. Our duty is to encourage each citizen throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to honor and respect the right to life of all those around us.
Some may say an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life. In our opinion capital punishment is viewed as a moral disgrace. I stand on behalf of the wonderful people in Omega Heights and say that capital punishment should be abolished because it is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights; cruel premeditated and unacceptable. Can I ask the question and get an honest answer: ???Do you believe that every incarcerated individual that sits behind bars at Her Majesty Prison in Fox Hill is guilty We know within ourselves that many innocent people are spending time for crimes that he or she did not commit. So imagine the death penalty administered to an innocent human being and there is no way and I repeat no way on earth, no lawyer, no judge, no Prime Minister, no doctor, no bishop has the power to bring that life back. A Human life is the most valuable life that walks on the planet.
If we check the records not just here in the Bahamas, around the world like, the great big USA, Europe and Canada, most of the time those who are wrongly convicted are those who were poor and the minority simply because they could not afford a good lawyer, or they were presented by an incompetent lawyer, perhaps there were false confessions during the trial by police offers, informants and the codefendants. How can we sleep at night knowing that we ourselves, just like the heartless murderer we take a life to say it bluntly we kill too and then call it justice. No one will ever know how many innocent persons have been executed in the US and around the world, but the probability that it has happened is beyond any reasonable doubt.
Since 1973, 138 people in 26 states have been released from death row because of compelling evidence of their innocence. From 1973-1999, there was an average of 3.1 exonerations per year, and from 2000-2007 there was an average of 5. A total of 43 death row inmates have been exonerated in the states of Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma (23, 10, and 10, respectively), and the State of Illinois has released 20. The high number of exonerations in Illinois prompted Governor George Ryan to commute the death sentences of all 156 prisoners on death row in the state before he left office in 2003.
We need to follow suit after countries. According to Vogel, R.D., 2009, by the 1850??™s, these reform efforts began to bear fruit. Venezuela (1853) and Portugal (1867) were the first nations to abolish the death penalty altogether. In the United States, Michigan was the first state to abolish it for murder in 1847. Today, it is virtually abolished in all of Western Europe and most of Latin America. Britain effectively abolished capital punishment in 1965. On March 18, 2009, Governor Bill Richardson signed legislation, effective July 1, to make New Mexico the 15th state to ban the death penalty. In 2004 Jamaica Privy Council ruled against the death sentence.
I cannot state it enough, as the government of a Christian nation I believe there should be some other alternative other than capital punishment. There is no greater miscarriage of justice than the execution of a person life for a crime he or she did not commit. Many believe that capital punishment is deterrence but according to the statistics available the death penalty has not been effective in controlling murder rates. Statistics retrieved show that the murder rate of non-death penalty states show that murders are far less than those of states in the USA that still carry out the death penalty. According to the New York Times, the past 20 years witnessed 48% homicide rate in states with the implementation of capital punishment compared to 23% in the states without capital punishment.
In closing on behalf of the Bahamian people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the in particular the wonderful people of Omega Heights let us agree to abolish capital punishment because it is another injustice to ones life, it has proven to be ineffective, it shows no value for life and life is a precious gift from God.