President Bharrat Jagdeo is not keen on commuting the sentences of death row prisoners to life imprisonment but says he may consider doing it in cases where there are extenuating circumstances.
“…I haven’t been thinking much about them to be frank because a lot of horrible, horrible people are there,” Jagdeo said on Friday during a press briefing.
He had been asked whether he would consider commuting the sentences of the prisoners on death row, given that there have not been any executions for more than a decade. He said that the Prerogative Board of Mercy had not approached him on the matter.
Explaining why he was not inclined to commute the sentences, Jagdeo said that many of the persons on death row had “cold-bloodedly” killed innocent people. “There are others too who would rob a man of everything he has and on the way out, he then takes out his gun and [shoots] him in the head,” Jagdeo said. “How can I be merciful to those people? I’m flawed, I’m a human being, maybe you need divine powers to be merciful but I think they need to stay on death row. They need to stay there,” he said.
The President said that he may consider the applications of those with extenuating circumstances, should they apply to the Board. “Now there are others who might have extenuating circumstances and so, I’m sure if those people apply to the committee, I may be prepared to consider commuting the sentence from death to life, or something of that nature,” he said.
“But some people, I wouldn’t even do it, it’s a non-starter. It’s a non-starter,” he added.