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Saint Lucia Needs Sex Offenders Registry, Senator Jawahir

Senator Lisa Jawahir
Senator Lisa Jawahir

Government Senator Lisa Jawahir, earlier this week, spoke on the need for a sex offenders registry after the death of two women sparked outrage on social media.

Both women were reportedly discovered with marks of violence on their body. Allegations of sexual assault have been swirling on social media, however, this has yet to be confirmed by police.

Whilst advocates have stressed on the importance of a sex offenders registry, as it would allow citizens to identify convicted sex offenders, one has not been established, Jawahir noted. The senator discussed the issue with Shelton Daniel Wednesday on his radio programme ‘The Real Issues’.

“I am 100% in favour of a sex offenders registry, and I want to make it absolutely clear that this is my personal opinion. Some human rights advocates will advocate for the right of the perpetrator (and) for their information to be kept confidential, but this can no longer be kept a secret because if somebody commits murder, after the police investigation we see the wanted pictures, we know who they are. I really want to ask those who advocate against that to come out and tell Saint Lucians why we cannot have a sex offenders registry,” Jawahir said.

“What needs to be confidential in my opinion is the names of the victims (because) you cannot tell me that time after time… it’s decades we have been advocating for something like that to be able to hold people accountable for their actions,” she added.

But public support goes a long way, Jawahir explained, whilst urging individuals to come forward. According to her, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) needs the public’s assistance, and whilst some individuals are hesitant to present information to the Force, Jawahir stated that they can always do so without revealing their identity.

“We all have a responsibility.  (If) you are nervous (when) taking a picture (or) a recording, release it anonymously to the authorities. We need to be able to put a stop to these things and the police cannot do it (on their own); they need the support of the public,” she explained.

“I have two nieces that I spend a lot of time with; I am surrounded by young people and children nowadays they develop (quickly). As a parent or an aunt, you have to be so concerned as to what types of clothing you buy for children because you are always concerned about potential predators,” Jawahir said, adding that adults must ensure children are as safe as possible.

And according to her, some will only feel the magnitude of the issue when it hits home.

Jawahir, who is also a Gender Champion for the Commonwealth, said individuals must work assiduously to bring criminal activities to an end.

Whilst Jawahir hopes that a sex offenders registry will be established, she stated that by advocating for one, she is in no way saying that the RSLPF “is not doing their job.”

“The police (are) doing as much as they can,” she said.

“I believe this sex offenders’ registry has to go through the entire process (and) once the individual is convicted, I believe it needs to be public. I think enough is enough; we are dilly-dallying around this and as a young woman I am telling you the last thing I would want is for this to happen to somebody who is close to me (or) anybody,” Jawahir added, noting that “it’s not years later we need to recognize what happened to Valerie Lorde and have a plaque or a ceremony; we need to put all of these cold cases to rest and we need to do something about it now.”

Sex offender registration and notification programmes are important for public safety purposes, noted on its website, as sex offender registration is a system for monitoring and tracking sex offenders following their release into the community.  Further, the website states, registration provides important information about convicted sex offenders to authorities and the public, such as offender’s name, current location and past offenses.

Whilst past administrations have vowed to create a sex offenders’ registry, their promises have never manifested. In 2017 former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told reporters “I think it’s something that’s generally accepted around the world and I think it’s something in which the general public needs to be made aware of in terms of who’s living in your neighbourhood and also even in terms of employers.”

“It’s not to say that somebody who is a previous sex offender should be alienated from our society but it’s just to put people on caution so that if somebody is employed, that you don’t put them in a position in which they are going to be giving supervision over children or left alone,” Chastanet said.

Speak Out Saint Lucia (S.O.S.), in 2016, condemned the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) for not putting a registry in place when the party was in power. S.O.S noted that the party had pledged to implement a Sex Offenders Registry in its election manifesto.

1 Comment

  1. Senator Jawahir , it seems that you have come to this political position for such a time as this.

    The 22st.Century sorely requires A Deborah, an Esther to go up into the face of patriarchy and demand reforms for women’s rights; especially in the matter of. rape.

    This sick, cowardly, dirty infection of rape that has been ever so virulent among St. Lucian men must be exposed , examined and eradicated from the cultural milieu of all St. Lucians.

    For too long has St. Lucian men taken it for granted that they were born to rape women somewhere in the bush.

    For too long have St.Lucian women
    been indoctrinated to accept a man’s violation of her womanhood in shame and “ shut your mouth”

    Therefore, it is incumbent on every woman who has risen onto the bully pulpit of government as representatives of the people to not only slap a mandate for legislation of new sex crime laws on the table but to demand serious execution of these laws.

    In all this ,s thorough truth examination must be made by members of all institutions directing the social structure of the people.

    If the wolves are themselves in the henhouse, then woe be to the chickens. It is necessary to remove extrajudicial wickedness from government, law enforcement, education, clergy etc without preference to rank or personal wealth.

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