Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK


World: Americas

Trinidad hangs killer

Trinidad believes the death penalty will cut "rampant" crime

Trinidad has executed a man who has been on death row for seven years for killing a taxi driver.


BBC's Mike Donkin: "The authorities are turning back to capital punishment"
The hanging of Anthony Briggs, at the Royal Jail in the Caribbean island's capital Port of Spain, was the 10th since capital punishment was resumed earlier this year.

Nine member of a drugs gang were hanged in June, after the island authorities decided that the death penalty would be used for the first time since 1994.

Trinidad, with the 15-nation Caribbean Community, is now setting up a Caribbean Supreme Court to replace Britain's Privy Council as its final court of appeal.


[ image: The victim's family backs the death penalty]
The victim's family backs the death penalty
The London-based council remains the highest court for many former British colonies, including Trinidad and Tobago which gained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.

It is resented by many Caribbean citizens as an obstacle to the implementation of justice, opposed to the death sentence and out of touch with the needs of the region.

Trinidad's final recourse for convicted criminals is the Mercy Committee, which rejected Brigg's plea last week.

Attempt to combat crime

Capital punishment has wide support among Trinidadian politicians and the general public as a means of dealing with its high levels of violent crime - particularly drugs-related crime.


[ image: Anthony Briggs was on death row for seven years]
Anthony Briggs was on death row for seven years
A recent survey suggested that 75% of the population of the country fears serious crime is rampant, and the same number believes the death penalty is a way to combat it.

The family of Brigg's victim Siewdath Ramkissoon, who was battered to death for a few car parts, say all killers should die.

His father told BBC News: "He must be hanged to set an example to this country. Hang him in Independence Square from a tree."

However, abolitionists fear a resumption of the death penalty across the Caribbean would tip the scales towards retribution rather than justice and lead to a "bloody race to the gallows".

Other critics have suggested that the Trinidadian Government wants to restore the death penalty to gain the popular vote, rather than to make a serious attempt to cut crime.

But Trinidad's attorney general dismissed such suggestions, saying he is determined that the death penalty will help cut crime.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

08 Jun 99 | Americas
Trinidad hangings completed

05 Jun 99 | Americas
More hangings in Trinidad

26 May 99 | UK
Nine lose hanging appeal

26 May 99 | Americas
Trinidad death penalty on trial

18 May 99 | Americas
Privy Council blocks executions





Internet Links


Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad Guardian

Trinidad Express


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels