A new Caribbean initiative in the campaign against the Death Penalty

From October 17th  to 19th  a group of organizations and individuals from countries of the Greater Caribbean opposed to the application of the capital punishment participated in the International Conference on the Death Penalty in the Greater Caribbean organized in Madrid by the Community of Sant’ Edigio.

Following that event, Caribbean abolitionist organizations and individuals had a meeting in which they decided to initiate the efforts to constitute an organization to unite the entities in the Greater Caribbean, for the coordination, sharing information and establishing joint efforts for the abolition of the death penalty in all Caribbean countries.  A Working Committee – constituted by five members – was elected as follows:

  • Simeon Sampson SC,
    President of the Human Rights Commission of Belize – Belize
  • Mr. Mario Polanco,
    Director of Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo – Guatemala
  • Dr. Lloyd Barnett,
    Attorney-at-law – Jamaica
  • Mrs. Leela Ramdeen,
    Chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Mr. Carmelo Campos,
    Coordinator of the International Affairs Committee of the Puerto Rican Coalition against the Death Penalty – Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican Coalition was selected by the Working Committee to be its Secretariat.

The initial name of this initiative is “The Greater Caribbean for Life”, reflecting the highest respect to right to live in the struggle against death penalty. The agenda of the Working Committee will concentrate on the following matters:

    • To publicize this initiative among the abolitionist international community and international and regional organizations
    • To establish effective an communication and collaborative structure with abolitionist organizations and individuals
    • To pursue a broad consultation process among those entities and individuals.
    • To draft the constituent documents for the regional entity

In fulfillment of these objectives the Working Committee has prepared a Memorandum of Understanding which is set out below:

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

WHEREAS at an International Conference on the Death Penalty within the Greater Caribbean held in Madrid, Spain on October 17-19, 2011, the participants consisting of human rights advocates and representatives of civil society organizations from various countries re-affirmed their commitment to fighting against the Death Penalty and State executions;

WHEREAS the participants from countries within the Caribbean Region agreed to work together to establish a sustainable organization and network of persons and civil society organizations who share this objective;

AND WHEREAS the participants elected a Working Group to spearhead such purpose under the ad-hoc name of Greater Caribbean for Life.

IT IS MUTUALLY AGREED and understood that the undersigned, being committed to the said objective will:

  1. support the efforts of the Working Party to establish a framework for a sustainable regional organization aimed at the elimination of the death penalty and State executions;
  2. seek to enlist the support and participation of persons and civil society organizations in this endeavour;
  3. provide the Working Party with suggestions and proposals for the framing of the Constitution and progrmames of the said Network; and
  4. subscribe to and encourage others to subscribe to the aims and objectives of the regional Network and its establishment.

SIGNED BY: 

NAME:

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION:

POSITION IN THE ORGANIZATION: 

ADDRESS: 

E-MAIL: 

COUNTRY: 

Readers who are desirous of supporting this initiative and furthering the campaign are encouraged to copy and sign the Memorandum of Understanding and sent it to one of the contact persons below.  It is imperative that this initiative should be pursued, particularly since in the English-speaking Caribbean there has been much agitation for the implementation of the death penalty and the Governments have opposed the UN Resolutions for the implementation of a moratorium on its implementation as indicated in the Table which follows:

Votes of the countries of the Greater Caribbean

Country  62/149
(2007) 
63/430
(2008) 
65/206
(2010) 
Antigua and Barbuda No No No
Bahamas No No No
Barbados No No No
Belize No No No
Colombia Yes Yes Yes
Costa Rica Yes Yes Yes
Cuba Abs Abs Abs
Dominica No No Abs 
Dominican Republic Yes Yes Yes
El Salvador Yes Yes Yes
Grenada No No No
Guatemala Yes Abs  Yes 
Guyana No No No
Haiti Yes Yes Yes
Honduras Yes Yes Yes
Jamaica No No No
Mexico Yes Yes Yes
Nicaragua Yes Yes Yes
Panama Yes Yes Yes
Saint Kitts and Nevis No No No
Saint Lucia No No No
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines No No No
Surinam No Abs  Abs
Trinidad and Tobago No No No
Venezuela Yes Yes Yes
Summary 
Yes 11 (44%) 10 (40%) 11 (44%)
No 13 (52%) 12 (48%) 11 (44%)
Abs 1 (4%) 3 (12%) 3 (12

The following persons may be contacted for further information:

Mr. Sampson – simsam96@yahoo.com
Mr. Polanco – mariopolan@yahoo.com
Dr. Barnett – dr.lgb@mail.infochan.com
Mrs. Ramdeen – leela_ramdeen@hotmail.com
Mr. Campos - carmelocampos@yahoo.com
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