Former member of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), Selwyn Strachan, is calling for the abolition of the death penalty as Grenadians debate changes to the 40-year-old constitution.
Strachan, who was also convicted for the murder of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and members of his Cabinet in a palace coup in l983, said Grenada should take the lead in the Caribbean and seek to have the death penalty abolished in its entirety.
“The last time the death penalty was actually applied was in 1978. So Grenada is in a unique position to take the next step and to offer some leadership in the region in this regard,” said Strachan, who was freed following a re-sentencing exercise a few years ago.
The London-based human rights group Amnesty International has been urging regional governments to abolish the death penalty, saying it does not serve as a deterrent to crime.
There have been mixed reactions in the region to the call and last month, the Grenada government said it would not seek to influence the outcome of the referendum on the island’s Constitution scheduled for February next year.
Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod said that the Keith Mitchell administration has since approved the 12 recommendations from the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee headed by former attorney general Dr. Francis Alexis.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is insisting that at least six other meaningful recommendations including term limits for the Prime Minister and a fixed date for the holding of general elections should be included on the Referendum Ballot.