Efforts to establish a sex offenders’ registry in Guyana has been stymied by the lack of support.
This is according to Bibi Ahmad, a representative of The Caribbean Voice (TCV). TCV is a New York registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which operates in Guyana.
She explained that the TCV has been pushing for the agenda to become a reality since 2017.
TCV had started a petition to raise civil society awareness about the importance of establishing the registry.
However, the petition got less than 50 percent of the 10,000 signatures it needed to meet its target. Ahmad explained that the petition was an integral part of getting the public to push for the necessary mechanisms needed for the creation of the register.
“Sadly, we faced several hiccups and our efforts fell way below what was our anticipated target,” Ahmad stated while noting “the group is still passionate about getting the initiative off the ground.”
She noted that while the register may not come by way of the signed petition, there is still other avenues that the group is exploring to make the goal a reality.
“I think that our society in Guyana needs to see how beneficial the register can be in our fight to stop sexual crimes. So should be meeting with the Minister of Human Services to have discussions on how we can move forward with the work,” Ahmad stated.
In many countries, a public sex offenders’ registry is designed to allow government authorities 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 precautions to protect the most vulnerable, and possibly act as a deterrent.
According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, 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.
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. 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.
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