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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Executions and the Royal Noose in the West Indies

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Since executions are a hot topic, I would refer you to Royal Babylon; The Criminal Record of the British Monarchy, an investigative poem by Heathcote Williams which opens with some of The Sex Pistols song ‘God Save the Queen, the fascist regime.’

After discussing various things such as the royal killing-for-sport sprees, Princess Diana’s death after fulfilling her function as a royal brood mare, Heathcote Williams (at 12.33 for about 10 mins) discusses the practice of capital punishment, death by hanging, for which the Queen herself signs the death warrants in The Caribbean, Belize, The Bahamas, Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica, St Vincent, The Grenadines, St Christopher and Nevis. “The royal pen wields terminal power on death row” writes Williams.

One particularly notable hanging was of Michael X, otherwise known as Michael de Freitas on 16 May 1975 in the Royal Jail, Port of Spain. He had gained notoriety in England for, among other things, being a revolutionary and saying that “the British Monarchy would last longer if the royal family were to have a black baby”. He declared at a news conference that he was going back to Trinidad to “liberate my brothers and sisters from the enslavement of the British colonialists”. Despite numerous pleas for mercy including those from Mohammed Ali and Allen Ginsberg, unanswered by Buckingham Palace, Michael X was hanged by the neck by royal command.

Capital punishment was abolished in UK since 1965, and was in Australia removed as a punishment from all states by 1984 although last used in 1967. Is it conscionable that we criticise Indonesia for their stance on capital punishment when our own Monarch, Queen Elizabeth 11 of Australia, apparently signs death warrants?

Deborah Lilly, Mullumbimby

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  1. Thank-you Deborah for posting this film. I like the line that said “Hertitage show business for the dull witted”. WWF has a panda for its symbol because its the only creature Phillip hasn’t shot. He is the WWFs patron.


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