Citizens For Justice calls for capital punishment

Dear Editor,

New Providence has experienced a rise in murders, including the recent murder of a young mother and her eight-year-old daughter in Nassau Village. The lives of women are bring snatched away in the Bahamas along with other innocent victims.

Members from Citizens For Justice Bahamas (CFJB) are outraged at the level of murders and violent crime in the Bahamas and are calling for capital punishment to be reinstated in accordance with the Constitution.

Bishop Walter Hanchell, Chairman of CFJB is demanding that laws regarding capital punishment be enforced or be removed from our law books.

The recent spate of murders in the nation has caused serious concerns. While we commend Commissioner Paul Rolle and his fine officers for great policing, we must take the correct measures in order to reduce murders. As a result of the negative social effects of Covid19, there appears to be an increase in domestic violence and violent crime.

Presently, hundreds of persons charged before the courts with murder are on bail and walking our streets. Cases take far too long to be heard followed by years of appeal after conviction.

Citizens For Justice Bahamas has observed with interest that both Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames are proponents of the death penalty. We commend the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security for their stand, which is on the right side of the debate on capital punishment.

CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE BAHAMAS also supports the death penalty and have been calling for the resumption of capital punishment in the Bahamas for many years. Minister Dames has stated in an interview that the FNM government will use everything on the books including capital punishment, to make the Bahamas safe for law-abiding citizens.

The last hanging in The Bahamas took place on January 6, 2000, over twenty years ago, when David Mitchell was hanged for killing two German tourists. All death sentences since then have been commuted because of the Privy Council's philosophical objection to capital punishment. Unless the government of the Bahamas passes strong leglislation that would prevent the Privy Council from ruling against the execution of convicted murderers, we will never see the death penalty carried out in the Bahamas.  Thugs will continue to take innocent lives knowing that they will face no real consequences for their evil.

It is our view that the biblical basis for capital punishment must be followed. It is God who established moral laws to govern us. The bible is clear on the death penalty and unless and until we follow the laws of God, the senseless murders will continue. The carnage must stop, however. We must do what is necessary as a people to address the issue of murders, violent crime and illegal guns. Again, we appeal to our lawmakers to amend our laws to ensure that there be no impediments at the Privy Council when ruling on murder cases.  We also call on legislators to greatly increase the penalties for armed robberies, possession of illegal firearms and for all violent crimes, including rape.

Below are biblical passages that command that the death penalty be carried out both in the Old and New Testament. We have noted that not one prophet in the Old Testament or any of the New Testament writers, including the Apostle Paul, condemned capital punishment. Jesus Christ, Himself received capital punishment at the hands of the Romans but never spoke out against it on His teachings because His word supports state killings. Capital punishment was established by our Creator, God, to remove offenders from society. No government or institution has the authority to overrule God's supreme laws. Capital punishment was never meant to be a deterrent, even though it is, when it is carried out speedily. It was meant to punish murderers for taking lives.

Moral laws have their root in the Bible including capital punishment. The death penalty was always mandatory, except in the case of accidental or unintentional death. Here is what God says with regards to murder and capital punishment in His Word.

In the Old Testament, the following passages clarify the fact that capital punishment is necessary to maintain law and order for the safety and protection of citizens.

Genesis 9:6 "Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."

Exodus 21:12 "He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death." 

Ecclesiastes 8:11 "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

To those who claim that capital punishment applied only in the Old Testament under the Mosaic laws, you are in error. According to teachings in the New Testament, it is clear that, Jesus and the apostles were in support of state killings and never once condemned them. This is what New Testament passages says about capital punishment:

Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be (governments) are ordained of God." 
V4 "For he (rulers) is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword (capital punishment) in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." 

Matthew 26:52..."All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

Revelation 13:10 ... "He that killeth with the sword MUST be killed with the sword." 

Capital punishment was established by God for the protection of society and to remove the offender from society. Human life is sacred and no man has the right to take another man's life except in self-defense or during a war. We are convinced that the culture of murder will not change in the Bahamas until capital punishment is carried out according to the Constitution of the Bahamas and the laws of God.

Proponents against capital punishment, including the United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union and human rights activists are all on the wrong side of the supreme laws of God with regards to capital punishment and will one day stand guilty before God for this grievous error. This includes politicians around the globe, who know better, yet prefer to be politically correct, while at the same time, rejecting the truth of God's word.

~ Bishop Walter S. Hanchell, MM, JP
Chairman, Citizens For Justice Bahamas

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