The Global Status Report 2014, compiled by the United Nations and the World Health Organisation and published in a December 17, 2014 article in the Business Insider website, identified Trinidad and Tobago as the tenth most homicidal country in the world with the top three spots going to Honduras, Venezuela and Jamaica respectively.
Guyana was 15th on the list while war-torn Iraq was ranked at number 19.
Speaking to reporters at a toy drive at Scotts Road, Penal yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said although serious crimes had declined over the past year, the murder rate remained a source of concern. She said she had spoken to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan about reintroducing the Hanging Bill in next year’s Parliamentary sitting.
“We have brought serious crimes down, homicides and murders remain still high and therefore we continue our initiatives and we have new initiatives and the Hanging Bill will be one of them that will be taken back to Parliament,” Persad-Bissessar said. Asked whether the Hanging Bill would be an effective tool in stemming the murder rate, she said, “In other parts of the world it has been shown that it has a great deterrent effect...it has shown from the empirical data that there is a reduction in murders once you have an effective death penalty.”
Persad-Bissessar said the Bill would be reintroduced early in the new year.
“I have asked the AG to bring (it) to the Cabinet, we will consider it at the Cabinet level and then we will take it back to Parliament when it resumes in the new year.
“On the last attempt, the Opposition did not support us but I think they must also be concerned with the high level of murders and we need their support,” she said.
The Constitution Amendment (Capital Offences) Bill, 2011 better known as the Hanging Bill, was defeated in the Lower House after the Opposition PNM refused to give the necessary support for the Bill, requiring a three-quarters majority, to become law.
Commenting on her annual toy drive, which saw scores of children, accompanied by their parents and other adults, lining the roadway to patiently await the toy distribution caravan, Persad Bissessar said it was “always wonderful” to see children receive toys.
“It is fantastic, always wonderful to see the children, and the parents have been with us for the past 25 years and it always makes us very happy,’ she said.
“And because I do it house to house, it takes longer, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, hopefully it will finish by Monday so I will get one day off, or two, to put my house in order at home for the children,” Persad-Bissssar said.
Asked about her plans for the Christmas season, she laughed before saying it was to “stay home with my family for one day, Christmas Eve. In the night I make pastelles and then on Christmas Day, get the family for dinner.”