Almost three years after the National Assembly removed the mandatory death sentence for murders, Guyana’s Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell on Sunday called for convicted murderers to be hanged.
“I am of the view, like you, that we should start hanging. Every week you hang two but as I am saying we don’t have the power,” he said.
He, however, said the ultimate decision rests with President Donald Ramotar who is responsible for signing the death warrants.
“I think is only recently we sentenced some fellows to be hanged. I think it is only now a case of the signing of the warrant by His Excellency and as long as he signs I know they will face the rope,”
Brumell was at the time reacting to a call by a participant in a West Demerara Outreach meeting organised by the Guyana Police Force in the wake of the robbery murder of 27-year old Zulficar “Vicky” Namdar in his shop at Meten-Meer-Zorg.
In the face of persistent calls by local and international human rights activist and key Western Nations for Guyana to abolish the death penalty, the National Assembly in October 2010 voted to scrap the mandatory death penalty in all instances of murder.
Under the amendment, the mandatory death penalty applies if someone is convicted for the murder of a law enforcement official while on duty, prison officers, members of the judiciary and legal officers, witnesses, as well as jurors, while in the execution of their duties.
In other instances, a judge can issue a life sentence of or a minimum of 15 years or longer duration.
Chief Justice Ian Chang in January 2013 commuted the death sentences of six murder convicts, saying that being on death row for almost 20 years and more meant that they had served a life sentence. He said if they were to be hung, they would be punished a second time.