An anti-violence group is calling on the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to enact a sex offenders registry into law with provisions for strict enforce of penalties for any violations of the law
The call comes from Leave Out Violence in SVG Association (LOVNSVG), which says it has a mandate on domestic and sexual violence against women and children.
The group says its call is supported by concerned Vincentians.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines presently does not have an official sex offender’s registry. Therefore, Leave Out Violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has taken an urgent social media effort to petition the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for implementation of a sex offender’s registry and is calling on all concerned Vincentians to let their voices be heard by signing the petition,” said Nailah John, the group’s president.
“It is critical that individuals understand the serious nature of having such a law in place. The sex offender’s registry will act as a deterrent informing and alerting society to the whereabouts of those who have committed such hideous acts against children,” John said.
“Leave Out Violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines believes that other rehabilitation programmes, for both victims and perpetrators, must also compliment the registry.
“The petition highlights some of the incidents of sexual violence against children and outlines why it is important that all Vincentians see this as a duty to their country and lend their support,” John said.
Persons interested in getting more information about the petition can send an email to [email protected], the group said.
Last November, the police chief told the media that there is a sex offenders’ registry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but it will not be published.
Colin John, who has since been confirmed as Commissioner of Police, said that the police force believes that it must balance the public’s right to know and the offender’s human rights considerations.
“Because we know St. Vincent and the Grenadines where we are a small community and I have seen, from time to time, persons who were labelled as sexual predators came into some problems where they were unable to live in certain communities, persons resorted to vigilante justice, they were deprived for of the opportunity to rent a house because no one in the community wanted them in that community,” said John, a lawyer and former prosecutor.
“So we have to balance the right of the person to live and associate with giving information to the public to protect them or for them to be on guard as to persons with that type of behaviour being close to them,” John said.