Preacher calls for mass executions in Trinidad

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, January 29, 2007 – The brutal slaying of a police officer, two members of her family and a friend was the last straw for a Pentecostal preacher who called for the immediate execution of every condemned murderer, in the hope that it would help curb what many consider to be an uncontrollable wave of crime in this twin island republic.

“We say today, that every murderer must be hanged. Death row must be emptied out,” said Pastor Ethelbert Charles, Saturday, at the funeral at Curepe Pentecostal Church for WPC Elizabeth Sutherland. She was gunned down Monday at her home. Reports suggest that Sutherland was murdered in an attempt to silence her in the event that she might testify in an upcoming drugs case. The gunmen also killed three others who were at home with her.

“It is time — the murderers must be hanged, corporal punishment must be brought back and because this country is an independent republic state no human rights association can come forward and say no and have all the members of the Cabinet arrested,” Rev Charles said.

“The Minister of Education should also repeal the law that states children in schools cannot be beaten. Let them be disciplined because there is too much immorality and disrespect that is going on within the school walls,” he added.

“It’s time to stop playing and get serious,” he emphasised.

An opinion poll published last week showed that there was widespread disillusionment among virtually every voter in the government’s ability to stem rising crime. However, the poll also showed that the people were solidly behind the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) government and forecast a third team in general elections expected to be held later this year.