Dear Honorable H. Charles Fernandez,
I can’t begin to express how much it meant to me to receive your letter. Your words bring me great comfort and it also restores my confidence and sincere respect I grew to hold in my heart for the Antiguan people and your government. During my five week stay on Antigua the entire Island took a collective responsibility for what happened. The phrase “we are so sorry this happened on our watch” showed me the heart of Antigua and Barbuda.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for hearing my voice and directly taking action to right this horrible wrong by removing Marvin Joseph and Melanson Harris from this Beach Work Program. In one of the many letters I have written over the last few weeks, I tell the story of meeting the Honorable Prime Minister Lester Bird one year after the trial. I have never forgotten his promise to me, “I personally assure you, Bonnie that the men responsible for that horrific crime will pay for what they have done. I guarantee you justice will be served and they will hang in accordance to their sentencing.” I have also stated in previous letters that I am aware of the stay put on capital punishment, but the promise from Prime Minister Bird that I hold onto is, “that justice will be served”.
What you, the Honorable Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda have assured me in your letter, is a fulfillment of Prime Minister Bird’s promise and I thank you from the deepest part of my heart.
In the closing of your letter you said you would remain committed to listening to my concerns and to contact you if I had further unease. I greatly appreciate you giving me that freedom and it is with a heavy heart and burdened mind that I share with you some very deep concerns I still have, and they are in regard to Superintendent Albert Wade. On a number of different occasions and specifically the statement he made following the announcement that Marvin Joseph had been removed from the government work program, where he stated that he has plans to rehabilitate and release convicted, sentenced murderers back into society, is appalling and absurd!.
Superintendent Wade is not a judge, he is not a juror and he is not an officer of the court. It is not within his realm of authority to overturn a conviction or a sentencing. If that were the case, what is the point of a Judge and jury? For five weeks the Honorable Judge Albert Redhead presided over this trial and nine jurors put their lives on hold to serve the court and the Antigua justice system. For what, I ask? If it will only be decided by one man, with no authority to overturn a unanimous decision of “Guilty of Murder” by nine Jurors and a sentencing of “Death by hanging until you are dead” by the Honorable Judge Redhead.
As I stated in my previous letter: Just because there has been a “stay” put on capital punishment does NOT mean that Marvin Joseph and Melanson Harris’ sentencing should allow for any leniencies whatsoever or any type of freedom or privileges No convicted murderer should ever be able to see the light of day beyond their prison walls. The “stay” means one thing and one thing only; that their sentence goes from “death – to life in prison without the possibility of parole” PERIOD!
I will close with this. I am not a bitter woman with a vengeance and a heart of unforgiveness. I am the daughter of Bill and Kathy Clever, two of the most incredible, delightful people to ever walk this earth and I am a friend of two of England’s finest men, Ian “Criddy” Cridland and Tom Williams. All that has happened from January 1994 to the present has offered me a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive. In some cases God calls us to offer forgiveness face-to-face, (which I have done with Donaldson Samuel, the third man involved in this horrific crime) and other times it may be simply before the Lord. Regardless of the circumstances, I cannot harbor unforgiveness in my heart, because in the same way Jesus forgave me, I must forgive others.
All that I am fighting for is not about unforgiveness or believing that a man can’t be rehabilitated. It is about what is right. It is about upholding the law. It is about justice. These men must serve the sentence they have been delivered for the cost of taking four innocent lives – far too soon. There are only two life verdicts that should ever be before Marvin Joseph and Melanson Harris and that is to either to be hung by the neck until they are dead or to live within the confines of the prisons walls all the days of their lives.
I am committed to doing whatever it takes or to bring to ensure that only those two verdicts holdfast for Marvin Joseph, Melanson Harris and any other convicted murderers.
Thank you for your ear and hearing once again my deep concerns. I sincerely appreciate you and trust you will consider all that I have put before you.
Bonnie Floyd Ministries