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Abolishing death penalty not on gov't agenda at this time - Golding

Published:Friday | May 22, 2015 | 6:23 PM

The Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding says the removal of the death penalty from Jamaican law is not on the Government’s agenda at this time.

Responding to a question from Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte today, Senator Golding said the matter went before Parliament in a conscience vote in 2008 and the majority of legislators were in favour of keeping the death penalty on the books.

Golding argued that having undertaken that process it was not on the administration’s agenda to change the laws at this time in relation to hanging.

According to the Justice Minister, the number of people convicted of capital murder is relatively small with most of them ending up serving life sentences.

During last week’s meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, several member states of the United Nations recommended that Jamaica abolishes the death penalty.

Golding told the Council that the island has had a longstanding de facto moratorium on the application of the death penalty. 

However, he said no decision has been made by the Government to formally abolish the death penalty from the law books.

Arising from the Pratt and Morgan ruling, the sentences of convicts on death row for more than five years are automatically commuted to life in prison.