Sun | Feb 25, 2024

Letter of the Day | Rethink the right to life

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2022 | 12:05 AM



I believe that there is no one in Jamaica, the Caribbean or elsewhere who has not heard of the brutal murder of the Clarendon mother and her four children and is not jolted by this heinous crime.

Let it be clear. I am all for the protection of human rights. I am a believer in the right to life. However, this right, which has the elements of the individual and collective right, must be balanced against that of other rights holders. Regarding this case, there are persuasive voices that only the murder accused is entitled to the protection of the right to life. The right to life is safeguarded in our Constitution, and it reads: “... the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which the person has been convicted”.

The accused murderer has deprived this right of not only the victims, but that of their immediate and extended family. The victims are robbed of their everlasting life through their children’s children or DNA. If we do a multiplier effect towards generation, he has deprived the Jamaican society and wider humanity of about 2,048 people over the next 10 generations. Had the Clarendon five survived into old age and had children, what would their contribution be to the development of Jamaica?

For one person to wipe the face of the earth of 10 generations at a price of J$1,000, the death penalty is too good for this murder accused. In this case, justice, including village justice, should take its course. The law must be swift and decisive. Otherwise, justice could be caught by the notion of undue delay and inhumane treatment. This element in the case of Pratt and Morgan has rendered Jamaica and other English-speaking Commonwealth countries impotent for carrying out the death penalty.

The murder accused is seemingly angling for the benefits of the notion of undue delay and inhumane treatment, as seen in a recent report that an officer assaulted him. Certain crimes are so egregious even in an immoral society, and the Clarendon five counts as one such crime. Hang him high should be the sentence of the court.



Legal Researcher