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St. Lucia rejects “indecent” proposal from UK foreign Office

Featured Saint Lucia's Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony Saint Lucia's Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony
ST. LUCIA, December 16, 2014 - St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has rejected a proposal from the United Kingdom for the island to waive its death penalty, in exchange for assistance in solving crime.

Prime Minister Anthony has dismissed the UK Foreign Office request as "improper," while the Island's Foreign Affairs Minister Victor La Corbiniere says that as a sovereign state, Saint Lucia will decide its position on capital punishment for itself.

La Corbiniere added that he will not be swayed by the UK or the European Union on this matter.

The death penalty is rarely used in Saint Lucia, with the last hanging on the island taking place in 1995.

"We will determine whether or not we abolish the death penalty and my government is on record as indicating that we are not at this moment going to consider the abolition of the death penalty. So that is definitely out," he said.

The island's leading human rights advocate, Attorney-at-Law Mary Francis says the time has come to reconsider the national position on the death penalty as a human rights issue.

"In Saint Lucia we have a constitution that guarantees fundamental human rights and freedoms, but that's only on paper to the extent that we have a court system which is not functional, we don't have properly funded government legal aid," he said.

When it comes to the death penalty, Saint Lucians are divided. Many young women, like Sharon Joseph say the death penalty should remain on the books.

"The reason is that if you do your crime why now ask for mercy?" she asks.

Some older Saint Lucians believe each case should be weighed separately to determine the extent of punishment.

The British High Commission in Saint Lucia has said the death penalty has no place in the modern world.

Government officials say they are aware that the issue of capital punishment is a contentious one and they are in no rush to make a decision on the removal of the death penalty from the island's constitution.

Saint Lucia is part of the Commonwealth of Nations which encompasses some 53 countries, most of which were former British colonies.

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