There appears to be widespread support in the country for the recent heavy sentences handed down in the local high court on persons convicted for acts of murder.
The toughest sentence was on British national, Alexander Clack who was given a jail term of 70 years for killing his wife, a local girl from St. Mark’s and then dumping her body in a suitcase that was found in a shallow grave at Mt. Moritz.
It was the heaviest jail sentence ever given by a high court judge to anyone convicted by a judge and jury of murder in Grenada.
Clack’s sentence literally means that he would spend the rest of his natural life inside a prison wall.
If the sentence is upheld and no parole is given then Clack is expected to die inside the prison.
There is also a 29-year sentence imposed on Ronald De Allie for the murder of his landlord Michael Delfish in St. Patrick’s in 2010.
The public has been clamouring for much tougher sentences for acts of murder as delivered by our high court judges in recent years.
The judiciary has apparently heard the calls and finally decided to react to the plea of the ordinary man and woman on the streets.
Even State prosecutors became alarmed over the so-called “light sentences” given by the Judiciary for acts of murder and decided to appeal for the first time in our history a sentence handed down recently by one of the high court judges.
This is also an opportune time for THE NEW TODAY newspaper to raise concerns over a decision taken a few years ago by a local court to grant bail for the person accused of killing a female businesswoman who operated in the Woodland area of St. George’s.
The public only became aware of the matter when a few persons started to whisper and murmur about the presence of the murder accused rubbing shoulder once again with members of the community.
There was no announcement from the court system about the decision to grant bail to the accused and the circumstances in which the bail was granted. It was like a “hush-hush” involving some kind of a national secret.
How come some persons who commit senseless murders are granted bail by our courts and others who got caught up in less heinous crimes are left to languish at the Richmond Hill prison for years on remand.
These are the kinds of things that make a society become very angry and result in persons resorting to certain acts to settle scores and to seek their own form of justice.
This newspaper is also mindful of the outcry in recent days for the State to bring back the death penalty and to send a few of the convicts to the gallows for committing acts of murder.
We have heard the many calls and cries of our people. However, this is hardly likely to happen given past events in our country.
Can the State hang anyone given what transpired at the end of the Maurice Bishop murder trial when 17 former government and military officials the likes of Bernard Coard, General Hudson Austin, Selwyn Strachan and company were convicted for one of the most brutal acts of killings in the Eastern Caribbean?
The soldiers who pulled the triggers in the bloody carnage at Fort George – Callistus Bernard (Iman Abdullah, Vincent Joseph, Cosmos Richardson and Andy Mitchell – are now back in society although the original court sentence called for them to be hanged.
A political decision was taken by the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite to alter the court decision and to allow the convicted persons to spend “the rest of their natural lives” at the Richmond Hill prison.
If anyone deserved hanging in Grenada it was some of the so-called Bernard Coard Gang of prisoners who some persons refer to as “The Bishop Killers”.
The State ought not to hang anyone in the Spice Isle in light of what transpired with the final outcome of the Maurice Bishop murder trial and subsequent re-sentencing of this batch of prisoners who are no longer in prison.
It is our sincere hope that the recent stiff sentence handed down by Justice Paula Gifford will have a chilling effect on those who believe that they can kill and go to the Richmond Hill prison to serve a few years in jail and then come back into society to create more reign and terror.
The two most recent killings of foreigners on the island should be seen in the content of a threat to our vital tourism industry, which in recent years has emerged as the Number One earner of foreign exchange and the sector that provides the highest amount of new jobs for our people.
The State has a right to send a strong message that absolutely no one would be allowed to pose a threat to the future prospects of Grenada.
THE NEW TODAY gives its resolute support to the decisions of the high court to give stiff penalties to those who commit brutal and senseless murders in the country.