The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catholic Church stands firm against death penalty

THE Catholic Church remains resolute in its opposition to the death penalty as the Government prepares to read a death warrant - which could lead to the country's first hanging in almost ten years.

In the wake of reports that preparations are being made to read a death warrant for an inmate at Her Majesty's Prison, Head of the Catholic Archdiocese Archbishop Patrick Pinder reaffirmed the Church's stance on the controversial issue.

"Whether they read the death warrant or not, it will not change our point of view," said the archbishop, when contacted by The Tribune yesterday.

When asked whether the Church would oppose the resumption of hangings when a death warrant is ultimately read, Mr Pinder said:

"I think the church obviously is and must always be a petitioner in the public corner so certainly at the appropriate time we will express our position".

Earlier this year, the archbishop spoke out against capital punishment.

"Throughout human history one of the thorns has been the question of capital punishment," he said at the Catholic church's annual Red Mass ceremony in January. "Should we or should we not maintain or enforce the death penalty? Judging by recent local demonstrations and pronouncements on the part of those who support capital punishment and want to see hangings, I would say that it is a matter of importance and urgency that calls for voices of reason to rise up in opposition."

The archbishop's most recent comments came days after the Advisory Committee of the Prerogative of Mercy met last Friday and recommended that a hanging should commence for one of four convicts whose death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court.

"The Advisory committee on the Prerogative of Mercy met and advised that that particular case was not one where the prerogative of mercy ought to be exercised and that the law should take its course. I've accepted that advice and am so advising the Governor General," said National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest yesterday.

Mr Turnquest added that the individual in question was the only one of the four re-sentenced convicts whose case was eligible for consideration by the committee, because he was the only one who had not appealed their sentence. The other three, he noted, all took steps to appeal their sentences following his public comments in August regarding his support for capital punishment.

He also noted that even at this stage, the convict in question can still appeal his/her death sentence, thus potentially preventing the hanging from taking place if that appeal is successful.

David Mitchell, who died in 2000, was the last inmate hanged in the Bahamas.

In 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence for persons convicted of murder was unconstitutional which meant that all inmates serving death sentences had to have their cases re-sentenced before they could be hanged.

Article credit to:
"The Tribune"
Nassau Bahamas
Published On:Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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