ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda is to begin actively enforcing the death penalty after a 22-year lull.
The announcement was made by Minister of National Security Dr Errol Cort hours after 38-year-old Susan Powell was shot dead at her workplace. It also comes amid an apparent increase in gun-related crimes.
The shooting death has prompted government to offer EC $50,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the killing of the mother of five.
In addition, government has offered an EC $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those who have committed crimes involving firearms.
The minister said the death penalty is still on the books and promised that all the necessary legal processes will be utilised to ensure it is enforced.
“Somewhere along the lines, I think many persons may have been of the view that, given the Pratt and Morgan case, the death penalty has been thrown out the window vis-à-vis the decisions of the Privy Council,” he told the media at a press briefing.
“I wish to go on record in saying that that is not the case. And whatever needs to be done will be done to ensure that we move forward in that regard.”
The last hangings were carried out here in 1988, 1989 and 1991.
Dr Cort said he is outraged and saddened by the death of Powell and promised that “no stone will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrator to justice.”
The minister said several other crime-fighting initiatives will be introduced with immediate effect.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)