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A renowned religious leader has added his voice to the national debate on whether the death penalty should remain on the country’s law books.

Dr Hensworth Jonas, of the Eastern Caribbean Baptist Mission Circuit of Churches in Antigua, believes the death penalty still serves an important purpose.

Capital punishment can still be applied legally “for the worst of the worst and the rarest of the rare” crimes, although the gallows at Her Majesty’s Prison have not been used since February 21 1991 when Tyrone Nicholas was hanged for murder.

“The penalty is fair and just punishment for murder. The Bible makes it clear that it is fair and just to take away the life of a person who maliciously takes away the life of another person. Genesis 9 and verse 6 says whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed,” Jonas told Observer.

He thinks the state should retain the right to impose the death penalty on convicted murderers.

“The gospel demands capital punishment. The gospel makes no sense if we regret capital punishment because hell is infinite capital punishment. Salvation comes to us only through Christ who vicariously took our place on the old rugged cross. He was executed to satisfy divine justice. So on the basis of justice and fairness, what punishment should be meted out on a person who selfishly, willfully and maliciously murders an innocent person, I think the answer is obvious,” Jonas added.

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