Trinidad pushes for death penalty despite ruling
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad - Prosecutors are seeking a constitutional amendment to prevent Britain's Privy Council from commuting death sentences in this Caribbean nation.
Attorney General Bridget Annisette-George is asking legislators to amend the constitution to try and block the highest court of appeal from interfering with Trinidad's death penalty.
The Privy Council in London ordered affiliated Caribbean governments in 1993 to execute killers within five years of their convictions or it would reduce their sentences.
It recently reduced death sentences to life in prison for 52 convicted killers, the second largest group to receive new sentences.
Trinidad's government blames the appeals process for lapses between sentencing and executions. Annisette-George said Tuesday that attorneys are doing their best to stay within the timeframe.
Trinidad has seen a spike in violent crime this year, with 318 killings reported from January through August, compared with 190 killings during the same time last year.
There were 391 killings for all of 2007.