Trinidad and Tobago
Greater Caribbean for Life
The Greater Caribbean for Life (GCL) is an independent, not-for-profit civil society organization, incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. GCL was established on 2 October 2013 by activists and organizations from twelve Greater Caribbean countries following an International Conference held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Our organization came into existence with a view to bring together all activists and organisations supporting abolition in the region in order to strengthen their voices; it seeks to build and nurture the abolitionist movement in the Greater Caribbean as we campaign for and work towards the permanent abolition of the death penalty in this region in which capital punishment remains in the legal system of thirteen countries and in which two countries retain the mandatory death penalty for murder. GCL is also committed to collaborating with the international abolitionist community, and acts as a supporting platform in its advocacy and educational efforts.
GCL’s membership currently includes members from 15 Caribbean countries (Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago). Our Executive Committee is comprised of members from The Bahamas, Dominica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.
While GCL vehemently condemns the rise of violent crime in our region and expresses solidarity with victims, members reject the notion that capital punishment will act as a deterrent or foster respect for life in our communities. In addition, in our societies, the death penalty operates in an unequal manner due to a number of socio-economic factors: it is primarily imposed on the poor and the disadvantaged. GCL is committed to promoting more durable and effective solutions aimed at reducing crime in the Greater Caribbean region – rather than the taking of life.
Leela Ramdeen, Chair of GCL has said: “The time is long overdue for people in the Caribbean region who wish to find more sustainable, long-term solutions to crime and violence to lift their voices against the inhumanity of the death penalty. Let us encourage governments in the region to find alternatives to the death penalty. While GCL continues to campaign and work towards better responses to the needs of victims and their families, we believe that the death penalty does not make societies safer. Our ‘Mantra’ is: ‘Stop crime, not lives!’”