In many countries, a public sex offenders’ registry is designed to allow government authorities to keep track of and activities of sex offenders including those who have completed their criminal sentences.
The Registry is also instrumental in helping to warn citizens of sexual predators in their communities; thereby enabling them to be on alert and take extra precautions to protect the most vulnerable, and can possibly act as a deterrent to potential sexual predators.
While Guyana’s laws make provision for such mechanisms, child right activists have spent years lobbying for the Sex Offenders’ Registry to be a reality.
Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency, (CPA) Anne Greene, recently commented on the absence of the Register.
She explained that the Agency has not ruled out the use of a Public Sex offenders’ Register as part of its plan to effectively tackle issues of sexual violence and crimes particularly those perpetrated on children.
Greene explained that CPA which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection has committed to work with stakeholder agencies to achieve the goal by next year.
Amidst calls for interventions and improved mechanisms to tackle sexual crimes, child rights activists have recently highlighted the need for a sexual offenders’ registry in Guyana.
Calls for the establishment of the Sex Offenders’ register come at a time when Guyana joins the rest of the world in observing Child Protection Week.
According to the online encyclopedia (Wikipedia), the information in the registry is made available to the general public via a website or other means to allow the authorities to keep track of the residence and activities of sex offenders.
In many jurisdictions, registered sex offenders are subject to restrictions, including housing. They are not allowed to live in proximity to a school or day care centre, to be in the presence of minors, to own items of interest to minors and to even use the internet.
Many developed countries, including Canada, the United States and New Zealand utilise this system.
In Guyana, statistics has shown that law enforcement officials receive reports of sexual violence almost on a daily basis.
In 2015, statistics revealed that a high incidence of sexual crimes have been unreported.
Overseas-based Non-Governmental Organisation, (NGO) the Caribbean Voice, had initiated a petition for the Government of Guyana to take steps to establish a national sex offender’s registry.
The organisation headed by overseas-based Guyanese, Annan Boodram via its website, said crimes of a sexual nature are on the rise and the prevailing situation makes it possible for sexual predators to repeat their crimes over and over.
Boodram had hoped that a register for sex offenders can possibly mobilise action, which could be the first step in changing attitudes towards such crimes, locally.
He said that sexual crimes in Guyana, do not create many responses among citizens, except for the few NGOs and activists.
The US-based Guyanese had hoped that the registry will be a first step towards heightening awareness which can lead to other actions, compelling the government to adequately implement contents of the Sexual Offences Act.
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