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Pay with your lives - MP urges public to pressure MPs to resume capital punishment

Published:Monday | June 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

In the face of a 19 per cent spike in murders since the start of the year, there is a strong suggestion coming from an opposition lawmaker that the condemned practice of hanging should resume to face down the crime monster in Jamaica.

Ian Hayles, member of parliament (MP) for Western Hanover, seemingly frustrated by the bloodletting in the parish, contends that talking has not helped in the fight against crime.

He is urging 100,000 Jamaicans to pressure their MPs into advocating for the resumption of capital punishment.

"We need to bring back hanging. I don't know if the other 62 members of parliament [agree] - I know some agree, but I would say to the people of this country 'whether it is by way of referendum or otherwise, you need to call your MPs," Hayles said in a recent interview.

Hayles, who labelled the criminals "animals", said there comes a time when the country has to say 'enough is enough'.

But human-rights advocate and chairperson for Jamaicans For Justice, Horace Levy, reacting to Hayles' tough stance, argues that hanging is not the solution to crime.

"Unfortunately, hanging does not deter criminals in Jamaica and it hasn't done so worldwide either. It adds one more kind of violence to the scene, and violence simply does not cure violence," Levy argued.

The human-rights advocate told The Gleaner yesterday that it should be sufficient for the criminals to be placed behind bars. However, he said there is need for improvement in the justice system and social intervention strategies.

"We would resist any attempt to resume capital punishment," the JFJ boss added.

Hayles, however, insisted that criminals should pay with their lives for the heartache and pain they have caused families.

In 2008, Parliament voted overwhelmingly in a conscience vote in support of the retention of capital punishment.

Jamaica last carried out the death sentence in 1988 on execution warrant signed by then Attorney General Oswald Harding.