Justice has finally been served on Wednesday in the High Court in Demerara. Abishai Caesar from Tuschen has been convicted of murdering Jennifer Persaud and her two sons from Anna Catherina, and has been sentenced to death by Justice Sandhil Kissoon.
Murderers have been on a rampage in Guyana, taking innocent lives, having no regard or respect for the value of a human life, and they have continued recklessly, carelessly and mercilessly. The crime situation is certainly out of hand, and the Police are at their wits’ end in this battle. Aiding and abetting this escalation have been the sentences of a proverbial slap on the wrist for many heinous crimes committed.
There have been numerous calls from various sources for the death penalty to be implemented in order to curb the crime situation. After a long time, finally answering the call, one such positive initiative emerged from the brave Justice Kissoon, using the tool that has always been readily available but was reluctantly overlooked.
The honourable Judge addressed the court before reading the convict the riot act and exclaiming, “This crime committed by Abishai Caesar is a despicable unparalleled act of cold- blooded ruthless savagery, where an entire family was meticulously and methodically brutally executed by Caesar while these three persons were in the security of their home.”
The Judge certainly did not mince words, and his description is befitting of the other murderers still in the streets, or safely behind bars after having unfortunately escaped similar punishment. The learned Judge then told Caesar, “You have treated life and death as meaningless. It is only right, it is only proper, and it is only just in view of your horrific crimes, having regard to the exceptional and specific circumstances, that you be sentenced to death.”
Again, his choice of words justified his action.
The father and grandfather of the victims said, “I’m happy with the verdict; justice has been served. My daughter and grandsons can finally rest in peace.” This conclusion airs the opinion of society, and reflects an answer to a call that has been echoed perpetually, to help dissuade so many tragedies occurring in Guyana.
The only regret is that this laudable pronouncement came nine years late because of the slow justice process in Guyana. The last execution took place in August 1997, when Michael Archer and Peter Adams were hanged for murder. It must be noted that the law makes provision for this verdict. Inclusive are: death penalty for terrorist acts, murder, treason, armed robbery, piracy, drug trafficking, and terrorist offences resulting in death.
While the Guyana Constitution states that the death penalty is not mandatory punishment, many provisions of the criminal code suggest that the death penalty may be mandatory for these crimes, as no alternative to the sentence of death is found under any law (2004 Annual Report – Amnesty International).
There has been an outcry for Parliament to institutionalise the death penalty as mandatory, because of the callous crime situation in Guyana. Tough times call for tough measures, and the innocent citizens of the state need protection. The Crime Prevention Unit is inadequately armed to deal with this situation, and it needs to be strengthened by employing more tactical, technical, and modern measures. It needs the support of all the law enforcement agencies, the courts, the Government, the politicians, Parliament, people, private and public entities, the labour unions, and all social organisations.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Currently, there are dozens of convicts sitting on death row, pending hypocritical bureaucracy and all the painstaking red tape. Currently, there is a Court of Appeal hearing challenging the death penalty imposed on four murderers, three of whom were members of the GDF. For the past week, this disdainful and despicable behaviour from ruthless and demonical individuals continued. Last Tuesday, a miner was stabbed to death.
On Sunday morning at 1am, a man was shot at a party in Plaisance Squatting Area, ECD. Over the weekend, a neighbour was chopped after a drunken brawl at Tasawani Village in Region 1. At 3:00h last Saturday, a farmer was stabbed by a drunken relative at Cotton Field, Essequibo Coast. On the roads, criminal negligence continues with traffic fatalities. One woman was killed in a minibus accident in the hinterland. 3 people met their death in an accident last Monday at 4:30h at Fort Wellington, WCB. The driver was speeding in a torrential downpour. In the street, the menace dominates scenes, pouncing on innocent bystanders. On Wednesday, a 17-year-old girl was robbed at gunpoint at Diamond, EBD.
Last Tuesday, four people were arrested for an attempted robbery on a businessman, thanks to the quick work of the Police Force. Last Saturday, a salesman was arrested along with 2 accomplices for staging a robbery around Stabroek Market.
Crime is certainly one of the key areas which the Government needs to pay special attention to, in order to safeguard the people of this nation. Visitors need to feel safe and protected. People need to walk the streets freely. Citizens need to sleep soundly. Society must be guaranteed security from all criminal elements, and this disease needs to be eradicated as quickly as possible.
No excuse should be accepted for this rogue element to survive. The enemies of society must be dealt with severely and expeditiously, with the maximum penalty being applied in every case. Guyana needs to rid itself of this cancerous disease.
Justice Sandhil Kissoon must be applauded for his decision to send a message that the crime situation is intolerable, and the court will not hesitate to use the death penalty when applicable. Hopefully, the rest of the bench will sit up and take notice, and follow suite. Guyanese need a break. It’s time for a change, and this approach is most welcome.