By HELEN TARAWA
PARLIAMENT will continue to debate whether the death penalty is maintained in the criminal code, Prime Minister James Marape says.
Marape was responding to NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s questions about 11 prisoners who had been on death row for over 10 years.
He said Parliament would decide whether to change the laws.
“They have committed crimes that warrant that penalty.
“These prisoners would be happy that Parliament had never really deliberated on the method of execution.
“Those on death row have been given mercy and extended life because Parliament was not able to secure the path to termination of life,” he said.
Marape said there was study made to find out different forms of termination of life but Parliament had not made any decision on it. “I will allow Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven to pick up this conversation and for us to decide whether we still maintain the death penalty or shift away from that to life imprisonment.
“It’s something that the wisdom of this Parliament must direct as to how these laws are fully implemented or reconstructed for the betterment of the country.
“Having safer laws and stronger penalties is something that we must have. “We already have the death penalty in our criminal code so those are put in place as a deterrent for crimes of that magnitude,” he said.
Marape said law and order was a big issue in the country.
The reason for the long delay was because the method of execution had not been decided.
“I’ve instructed the Correctional Services Minister Chris Nangoi to convert prisons into an industry.
“We must re-educate them (prisoners) with some technical and vocational skills.
“Most prisons have land and prisoners are being fed and clothed free of charge so why not allow them to contribute back to civil society.”
In the instance of those on death row, Parliament can debate on this. We are a Christian country but justice must be done.
“Greater consensus of Parliament must decide the way forward,” Marape said.
By HELEN TARAWA