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(CMC) — St Lucia government has announced plans to establish a national sex offender registry.
“I think it is something that is generally accepted around the world and I think it is something in which the general public needs to be made aware of in terms of who is living in your neighbourhood and also even in terms of employers,” said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
“It is not to say that someone who was a previous sex offender should be alienated from our society. But it is just to put people on caution so that if somebody is employed, you don’t put them in a position in which they are going to be giving supervision over children or left alone,” he added.
Chastanet explained that the objective was not to deny people an opportunity to become an active part of the society.
“In many cases people say this is a disease more than anything else and we have to work in terms of helping everybody through this situation.
“So if you are going to hire somebody to take care of your children and they are a previous sex offender and you didn’t know that, think of how you would feel as a parent if your child was molested and it came out after the fact that people had already known or the state had already known and that information was not made available.”
Chastanet has called on members of the public to think of the sex offender registry not in general terms but also from a personal standpoint.
“I think that we would all agree that this is a mechanism that has worked and it is not to ostracise or prejudice anybody, but certainly to allow us to make clear decisions,” Chastanet said.
Meanwhile, the non-governmental organisation, Speak Out St Lucia (SOS) Tuesday expressed support for the initiative, noting that many individuals and groups, over the years, have highlighted the numerous cases of rape and child sexual abuse, which have caused grave concern and alarm.
“In the past years this situation has been highlighted even further with the use of social media, which has resulted in an acute sensitisation of the population which has led to the coming forward of many victims.”