Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Is suicide still a crime?

There is a saying “When something is working, why try to fix it.” This is applicable for this week’s editorial as we focus on the issue of suicide as a crime and recent statements made by the Police.

Recently we have seen a rise in statistics making the news of people attempting to or even succeeding in committing suicide. There were instances where the offenders were seen on camera as they committed the act or in some cases almost. People looked on social media in horror as the life of a young man was slipping away in Saint Andrew as the rope tightened around his neck. From all appearances, it seemed that the filming of the incident was set up by him as he used his dying breath to speak to a woman who he said had pushed him to take his life.

Then there was another video making the rounds of a young man who was cutting himself and was allowed to bleed to death in Saint Patrick. The question is, were they aware that they were committing a crime which goes with a penalty? It was also reported in news that a man who was charged after ten years for killing his neighbour, even tried to commit suicide while in the hands of the Police. It is not clear whether he will get that added charge of attempting suicide.

We agree to some extent with the Police that not all of these incidents require a charge because there are a lot of individuals out there who, for one reason or the other, have challenges. These individuals most likely need psychological or mental and emotional support. But the area of concern here is ‘just who should determine that?’ In the event that the person’s life was saved, shouldn’t he/ she be taken to court for attempting a crime. There have been cases where people were ordered to rehab or anger management classes when needed; but it was not known that the Police were the ones to order that. There must be some form of official punishment to curb the rise in suicide cases. It is our belief that people do not know that is still a crime on the books and even the Police were hesitant in telling us the penalty that goes with that.

There maybe people who are still alive who knew the man who was jailed long time ago for attempting to commit suicide. After his term in prison ended and he was a free man again, he never tried doing that anymore. He had learnt his lesson well. We have heard of successful rehabilitation programmes in the prison; but maybe the Police have lost faith in them. Statements by the Police suggest it is not only the duty of the Police to arrest and charge, but to provide the platform or give assistance to those in need. In reaffirming the position taken by the Police in dealing with people who try to take their own lives, it may have been overlooked if the Police had left room for revisiting their treatment of the issue instead of stating that they have been doing their best to provide the required assistance by referring them to the relevant authority to receive counselling, psychiatric evaluation and treatment; that is what the Police have done and will continue to do. So just who should tell these people that it is a crime to commit suicide and read them their rights?

In light of this, shouldn’t the man in his fifties who sexually abuses little children be taken for psychological treatment too? We can quote many other instances where people who “seemed to be not right in their heads” commit some heinous crimes. They were brought before the court where the case was dissected and dealt with accordingly.

Recently, we have seen also where people are showing very little respect for the Police and are even inflicting wounds on them, which is a very sad day. It was local attorney Jerry Edwin who shared his observation that some members of the Royal Grenada Police Force need to get some extra training in carrying out their duties in a more professional manner. He was making reference to the case where a man prevented the Police even while they had guns, from searching his vehicle. The attorney is of the opinion that the Police need to be better able to take control of situations (not always with violence) to carry out their duties. Criticisms and suggestions are always good if taken in the right light.

While these videos, where even a pregnant woman was seen some time ago threatening to “cuff a Police Officer in his face” are making the rounds, there are people who are looking deeper at where the breakdown in respect started since it is a worrying situation.

 It maybe that sometimes, as in the suicide cases, the performance of the Police is a bit on the fuzzy side thus leading to disrespect.

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