Jamaica’s parliament voted this week to keep the death penalty, turning aside an attempt to ban capital punishment in the island nation.
Although capital punishment — hanging, specifically — is currently legal in Jamaica, no executions have occurred for almost 20 years.
The Jamaica Gleaner said members have been debating the issue for several weeks.
Opponents such as Minister of State Andrew Gallimore say there is no proof the death penalty is an effective crime deterrent.
“The fact of the matter is that hanging people five, six or eight years from now is not going to stop murder from happening again,” he said.
Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
The Jamaica Information Service reports that supporters of the death penalty point to the more than 20,000 murders that have taken place on the small Caribbean island since 1989.
Sky News reports that a pair of grisly child murders have stirred public sentiment against the ban; on Wednesday, the measure fell in Parliament 34-15, with 10 abstentions.
“Jamaica Vote Backs Death Penalty”
Sky News (U.K.), November 26, 2008
“Death penalty D-Day – Parliamentarians in Jamaica to vote on hanging despite Opposition appeal”
The Jamaica Gleaner, November 25, 2008
“Prime Minister Suspends Vote on Death Penalty”
Jamaica Information Service, November 21, 2008