by Linda Straker
- Edwin’s motion is to amend Criminal Code to remove flogging as punishment
- Other criminal attorneys support motion
- Grenada is only jurisdiction in Western Hemisphere with this law on its books
Jerry Edwin, a criminal attorney in Grenada, has filed a motion in the High Court calling on Government to remove flogging as a penalty for people convicted of offences in the Magistrate Court.
“Grenada is the only jurisdiction in the entire Western Hemisphere with this law on its books. Grenada is in very unadmirable company. I want to completely eviscerate this law from our books,” said Edwin.
“So, my motion is to amend the Criminal Code to remove flogging as a punishment for Praedial Larceny, otherwise known as stealing farm products, and Robbery with Violence.”
He explained that for several decades, judicial officers, Magistrates in particular, have abused this form of punishment by ordering flogging for Robbery, Traffic Offences, Offensive Language and all sorts of offences not permitted under law.
“Worse, there are several instances where Magistrates ordered flogging “forthwith” in clear violation of the law, which states that a period of 14 days must elapse before the punishment is enforced,” he disclosed.
Other criminal attorneys support the motion. “We are saying such a slavery era form of punishment in the era of reparative justice throughout the Atlantic world from persons whose ancestors were enslaved, requires a rejection of the slave master’s tool kit of punishment intended simply to degrade and dehumanise the enslaved,” Edwin said.
“To continue this punishment another single day is a travesty, a complete abrogation of human rights and decency,” he said. In 2017, Edwin was the lone protestor at an event on a former plantation where the lives of enslaved people were reenacted as part of activities in observing April as National Heritage Month.
He had called for the 27 April 2017 event to be cancelled. “How can we enlist our children in recollecting events that dehumanised them and was intended to render them not as human beings but as things — chattel — to be bartered?” he said back then.