Clark: No evidence death penalty works
Friday, February 10 2012
UNITED NATIONS Under-Secretary General Helen Clark, a former three-time prime minister of New Zealand says there is no evidence to suggest the death penalty serves as a deterrent to crime.
Clark made this comment at a press conference on Wednesday at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain, following the launch of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Caribbean Human Development Report 2012.
Responding to a question posed by a reporter, Clark said several of the UN’s human rights conventions extort countries to dismantle capital punishment and use other methods to deter crime. Clark, said her country abolished capital punishment in 1962 and has “no appetite to return to it.”
However, Clark made no comment on moves by Government to resume the death penalty in this country. At the launch of the report, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar identified the Capital Offences Bill 2011, which was defeated in Parliament last year, as one of the pieces of legislation which Government has introduced to contribute “to a more effective and timely delivery of justice to our citizens.”
“We remain committed to utilising all our resources to bring the full weight of the law down on those involved in criminal activity, within the context of internationally recognised and accepted fundamental human rights for all,” Persad-Bissessar declared.
In her address at the report’s launch, Clark said, “Trinidad and Tobago (TT) had relatively low and stable homicide rates from 1990 to 2000 but has seen a substantial rise since. In countries with the highest rates of violence, organised crime and gang violence present great challenges and citizen security has become a pressing issue,” Clark said.
UN Assistant Secretary General Heraldo Munoz said the report showed the homicide rate in TT peaked at 40 per 1,000 persons in 2008 and fell to 36 per 1,000 persons in 2010. The report is based on the analysis of crime and policies to deal with them in TT, Jamaica, St Lucia, Guyana, Barbados, St Lucia and Suriname. According to the report, respondents in TT had the least confidence in the police (53 percent having a great deal of confidence or some confidence in the police) and rated police performance as the poorest (17 percent rating the police as good or very good for controlling robbery and 17 percent for burglary).