Draft Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill to go to parliament soon

Peter described the draft bill as extensive
Peter described the draft bill as extensive

A draft Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill for 2016 will soon be taken to Parliament for approval, Attorney General, Levi Peter has announced.

Peter made that announcement while addressing a press briefing held at the Financial Centre, in the Office of the National Authorising Officer on Monday.

The Ministry of Justice, Immigration and National Security has been involved in a process which started in March of 2015, where concerns were raised by members of the public as well as persons involved in the legal profession as it relates to inadequacies in the Sexual Offensive Act of 1998 as it currently stands. In October 2015 a special committee was appointed under the chairmanship of legal Consultant, Ray Harris to look at the provisions of the Act and to make some recommendations for amendments.

In January 2016 Mr. Harris submitted the report to the Justice Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore with an Amendment Bill to the Sexual Offences Act.

“The report and the draft bill are now with the chambers of the Attorney General; in fact it is with me. I have commenced looking at it, I have some observations…and there will be some further discussion,” Peter said. “I would anticipate that those discussions should not take an extensive period of time.”

According to Peter there are some areas which he observed that need clarification.

He went on to say that he is confident in the very near future that, “the draft Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill 2016 will be in a position that it can be taken to Cabinet, hopefully Cabinet will approve it with or without further amendment…thereafter it will be taken to Parliament for debate, hopefully approval and subsequent enactment via the President.”

“I think the Draft Bill, if and when its enacted, will substantially improve our legislative landscape in so far as sexual offenses,” he noted.

Peter indicated that there are a number of areas of amendment, some more extensive than others and there has been the introduction of offenses which are new to the jurisdiction in Dominica.

“The Bill comprises of 17 sections and obviously within those sections there are various sub-sections, so in total it is quite an extensive piece of work,” Peter noted.

Meantime Harris said Government has been working assiduously, through the sexual offenses committee, who have been meeting stakeholders, “going on radio stations, and the reality is we are hoping that soon enough there will be an Amendment Bill.”

In recent times there has been a spate of sexual offences before the high court, with Judge Errol Thomas has called on society to “speak out and find ways of helping the situation.”

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52 Comments

  1. March 9, 2016

    Promises of change and improvement give the nation hope. People wait. Weeks run into months, and months run into years. Disappointment turns to discouragement and people give up.

    People would like to see changes now that will make a difference so the improvement is obvious. We are not talking about trivial changes in the wording of a law or in how it reads. We are talking about what the law says and requires. We are talking about how it is applied and what is done to the accused if he or she is convicted.

    There is a need for a sex crimes registry on-line because too many offenders move to another island and continue their nastiness. It should have their picture, DOB, the crime, and the sentence.

    There should be minimum time between when the alleged crime takes place and when the person stands before a judge.

    Continued…

    • March 9, 2016

      During a long stretch of time there can be witness tampering. Witnesses have been known to “forget” or change their stories. Some have moved away.

      It should be mandatory that every known case of sexual child abuse be reported immediately. Until such a law is on the books and is being enforced not much is going to change.

      The penalties need to be reviewed. It is a fact that pedophiles usually re-offend. In light of this the penalty should send the appropriate message.

      Professional counseling should be provided for the victim beginning immediately with follow up to treat the present trauma and avoid problems later in life.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  2. Anthony P. Ismael
    March 8, 2016

    How this man still has a job I have no idea. His record is dismal. I have no faith in anything that his hand touches. It’s just empty, fancy words and nothing more.

  3. Extremely
    March 8, 2016

    Too much hypocrisy in that Dominica there. So now alone . Where were you guys?

  4. jonathan st jean
    March 8, 2016

    From fifteen years this inept government, led by Rosevelt Skerritt has had a responsibility to do something to protect the vulnerable young innocent members of our society.Guess what,true to form,Skerritt has failed them and failed the country. Right now the AG is still dragging his feet on the matter.Why has it taken so long and why is it taking so much longer?The government passed amendments to the banking act in less than one day.
    The 9 eleven tradegy happened during the administration of the GOP led by G W Bush,and will forever be a stain on this political party and that President, similarly the explosion of sexual offences against minors is a stain on the DLP and Skerritt. The underlying causes were caused by his government and they have failed to solve them in 15years.The World Trade Center was attacked before 9-11,but it was destroyed whilst the GOP was the government. Similarly sexual offences existed prior to Skerritt being the PM,but it exploded under his regime.

  5. Dominica_Is_Ours
    March 8, 2016

    Put a Judicial review clause in the amendments so those sickos cannot escape.

  6. Face the Facts
    March 7, 2016

    I hope a clause will be inserted pertaining to the responsibility of parents to their minors.
    In addition, the obedience of minors to their parents.
    You cannot pass a Law, a Bill, legislate it without some sort of mention about the above. Otherwise it will defeat the purpose.
    We do know some parents shirk from their responsibility to their children. They need to be counseled.
    Minors will still continue to defy their parents/guardians. Passing a Law without these recognition will serve no useful purpose.
    It is time to enact a law that parents will recognize the seriousness of this matter and their responsibility.
    Minors in turn will show respect for their parents and obey them. If the latter fail in this respect, they should be brought before the Social Service Tribunal. If you do not have one, implement one.
    You cannot have minors rampant all over the place as if they are adults and are responsible for themselves. Consider, they are the future adults.

  7. Doc. Love
    March 7, 2016

    It appears, the Skeritt Administration and DLP operatives have lost their way in terms of the management of the country. Day in day out, Mr. Linton is being criticized in terms of his leadership qualities and his lack of education. But without him, Government is unable to operate effectively. All the Government appears to be doing now is to wait for Mr. Linton to make recommendations on an issue, then the Government takes his plan and either criticizes it on radio or try to better it. For instance, electoral reform, immediately as he opened his mouth, Skeritt talks about nothing else but electoral reform. Next week, if Mr. Linton takes up the issue of the India trip, I am sure immediately after, electoral reform will be jumped into the garbage bin and all we are going to hear about is the success of his trip, but it has been over two weeks. It is about time this Linton thing goes away and concentrate on more pertinent matters in order to save Dominica.

  8. Viewsexpressed
    March 7, 2016

    Anything to do with the protection of children I do not trust this government. They have consistently abused the children of Dominica and their poor families for years. It happened through the red clinic, handouts, poor planning, disrespect of parents and the family as a unit. They operate like a fast food chain with unhealthy food and the result is an obese government, and the increase of poverty in Dominica.
    Any bills to be passed must target the accountability of the Red Clinic and abused of states funds and the immediate, imminent removal of this corrupt Labour Party government. We also need asap Investigation into the Layou River fiasco, investigation into the past two election, make it three.

  9. Shaka Zulu
    March 7, 2016

    I will shout again. Laws are useless if they are not enforced or get bogged down in the judicial process. We run our mouths when there is fire but as soon as the heat dies down we go back to the same ole crap. Our problems are not for lack of laws but enforcement of the laws without interference, manipulations , or bias. It is the same ole crap of, “it is my padna, it is my family friend, it is so and so, it is Mr. Big cahouna child”. A few years ago a magistrate from the north recused herself from a case because she knew the defendant family. A few years later he was killed. It tells that the courts does not realize it’s not only there to punish but to help change lives and direction. It tells that we cannot separate our emotions from our responsibility. It is a social problem. Unless we start changing the mindset of the young no amount of laws will change anything. Our society is screws up . I can admit it. Enforcement of current statues is start.

  10. grieving mother
    March 7, 2016

    Prime minister had his reasons for not wanting amendment done

  11. March 7, 2016

    It is my hope that the amendments are not geared towards protecting the Criminal Enterprise which has governed our lives since this administration came into power. The Deception Lies and Propaganda if allowed to continue will destroy the mere fabric of out society which are our young people. Having made them poor and destitute vultures continue to prey on them with no sign of abating. No more watered down legislation give this one some teeth so it can bite as hard as your bark.

  12. jah kal
    March 7, 2016

    What happen Levi because it hit home more to come.

  13. Dave Bertrand
    March 7, 2016

    Let’s hope that the public has a chance to make an input and the draft includes a mandatory long term jail sentence for all those men who continue to abuse, minors, children and the elderly.

  14. KID ON THE BLOCK
    March 7, 2016

    Raising the age of consent has it’s advantages and it’s disadvantages. An advantage is the protection of the youths. The disadvantage is giving more leeway to the youths to commit them shit they get involve in. They simply take advantage of the age bracket when they damn well know what they are doing. Some do odd things because they know that the LAW protects them. Bear in mind we are in the internet age. Youths are 100% smarter now. They may not be very clever; it is the parents responsibility now to have them develop this form of awareness of cleverness and the consequences of not being clever.

    • Viewsexpressed
      March 7, 2016

      I hear your concern and feel your honesty, but I beg to defer. Raising the age of consent cannot be taken in isolation

    • ATKINSON
      March 8, 2016

      Ahh stop putting the spot light on the youths, its about the adults, businessman attorney, and minister who break the law

  15. Rise up you mighty Race
    March 7, 2016

    In Dominica we do not expose the one`s who do wrong especially those in so called high places and that is so sad for our future. How can we trust a system that keeps failing us. When there is crime in the country we are told to ring crime stoppers and if I am right its based in Canada, now look the crime at hand is before our eyes and all the evidence is there to see and take action. Mean-while in Jamaica a young man was murdered by three teenagers. They were charged and their names were mentioned on all media houses, so tell me why can`t the men charged for the sexual offences of a minor, names not be revealed? I know the scenarios are different but law is law….. http://iriefm.net/teenagers-charged-with-murder-of-lucianos-son/

    • Truth and Knowledge
      March 7, 2016

      My friend, on the assumption you are asking the question genuinely, put in simple terms, the reason the names cannot be published at this time is that in law sexual offences are placed in a special category and treated differently to other offences. The protection of the victim, including her (his) identity is zealously guarded.

    • A. George
      March 8, 2016

      Teens yes but 18 and 19 means they are adults under the law :-D :lol:

    • Intellegence
      March 8, 2016

      it has been said soo many times now why the names of the victim and the alleged perpetrators can’t be named but people still keep asking why and even when they know why they are greatly dissatisfied at the reason.
      sexual offences are especially of a heinous nature, both the victim and perp identities need to be protected for various reasons
      I am curious to find out if (god forbid) an allegation of sexual misconduct was leveled against you, knowing fully well that you were being accused wrongly, and your name and face was all over the news only to find out later that it was a false allegation in court

  16. D/can to De Bobe (F)
    March 7, 2016

    The goverment laps this should have been debated in parliament long time . In fact people have been vocal of the sexual abuse in Dominica for some times now and the authority keep delaying onthe matter

    • Belle Befffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
      March 7, 2016

      buh how u expected them to debate this topic in parliament when some of them jolly well know that they themselves involved?…these were the only ones caught…some take advantage of young girls in exchange for favors and money,,young girls go on their knees and unzip to get houses ,money..etc etc..when i spoke about it before some of u guys so hypocrite saying how rude i was,,,well pandora box open now look it..is me that is the rude one..it seems like some of u either dont like hearing the truth or u in it to….some of u so dutty it aint funny…when fb and whatsap get hacked they will be exposed..alot of you big ass men want to blame the children…a big man like you,,u the adult is like saying u went to pee and a horse ge back on ur private parts,,,chupesssss…respect the people children and stop ur nasty excuses saying is the girl that was teasing u

    • Face the Facts
      March 7, 2016

      We could say the time is right and nothing happens before its time. It takes something as that to start the ball rolling. Better late than never. In fact, it is not too late. The Bill will be strengthened.

  17. Dan is de man in de van
    March 7, 2016

    Raising the age of consent is just theoretical children bodies yearn for sex very early. Just pay close attention at male kids. From early on they already have an erection… At 12 years a young girl body is already wanting sex. Let’s face this.. We need to educate our children no age of consent can prevent nature… Parents have the biggest role to play in educating their children on sexual matters. Dangers as well as the pleasures. We can’t hide any more. We are in 2016′.. Face the reality it is harsh but it is so… If we don’t we are heading for a catastrophe. Simple….. I know a parent who opened a bottle of champagne when their daughter lost her virginity at 16…, it was a very special moment for them the child knew about sex from very early on because she was educated both on the dangers and the pleasures. In my 5 year old school they are already teaching them sexual education. With a doll. Explains to them the body parts and how babies are made. We have to face the music.

    • Opinionated
      March 8, 2016

      Absolutely, all this rubbish about raising the age of consent. It makes no sense.

  18. March 7, 2016

    It was about time
    This rape thing is serious
    Stiff penality .. so the other sister islands will do the same
    A child is a child
    They may act certain ways because a close relative or family membet may have already introdice them to this wicked act.
    So they out there searching for love in the wrong places.
    If you are a real man ask them their full name address and even phone number and make a report to child services
    That rape thing is very demonic
    I hate it to the roots.
    If you hot go in the ocean take a swim. Go river cool out .pool it have ..
    Live the children alone.
    Yea stiff up on this walking demonic child rapist
    What hurts most of them has sisters and daughters if you please

  19. committed
    March 7, 2016

    Levi ,just shut your mouth. It’s demons like you and your gang that have the country so.

  20. Cherry tree
    March 7, 2016

    Hopeful news, but we need an EMERGENCY meeting now to deal with the many enhancements that are critically needed to curtail the instance of child sexual abuse. Some of these measures Do Not Require changes to the law:

    1. Establishment of a family court
    2. Increased budget for social services
    3. Hiring more counselors
    4. Mandatory reporting for teachers and parents
    5. State takeover of cases once report is made
    6. Raising the age of consent
    7. Sexual offender registry

    Where are the esteemed ministers, the ones we are told to call honorable at a time when our children are in crisis??? Where are the supplementary budgets? The national action committees?

    • Opinionated
      March 8, 2016

      We do not need American diaspora influence, the age of consent in the world is from 14 to 18 years. Sixteen is all right.

      Those who live in America, go ask Obama to amend their “bogara” laws.

  21. dissident
    March 7, 2016

    anything substantial in that bill worth mentioning sir????????
    I guess not!!!!!
    De jury is still out!
    I’m not too amused.
    Pleased that we finally going to parliament for good reason……..before budget!!!

  22. Lang Mama
    March 7, 2016

    If the wheels were set in motion in March of 2015 why we had Blackmore in November 2015 saying that ” it is time for action”. Assuming that Blackmore was referring to what was supposedly set up in March of 2015 why after one year nothing came to parliament. They rush to dismantle the IPO; Rush to pass some banking act but when it comes to the safety and security of our children they are not interested. I wonder why?

    Interestingly a considerable portion of the unreported sexual abuse often involve victims of patrons, supporters of politicians. Why so? Well most people who get the priority and privilege to see the politicians especially one on one are usually the ones of party supporters.
    Lang Mama know what Lang Mama talking about.

    When you hear politicians avoiding discussion about sexual assault or doing nothing about it there is a reason why. Girls are often invited to the homes instead of the office; some are asked to stand at certain location for a pick up. All you oy…

  23. March 7, 2016

    If Roosevelt Skeritt said that there was no need for legislative amendment, how can it be a lie, that was his opinion at the time. We can make all the amendments but unless the laws are enforced it is just a complete waste of time. Making new laws when we are reluctant to enforce exixting law makes absolutely no sense.

  24. MiRiDom
    March 7, 2016

    Does the public get a chance to see the draft amendment to make their observations and comments before it is taken to the Parliament for approval?

    • MIA
      March 7, 2016

      What are you talking about or asking? learn how government works/run.

    • Righteous
      March 7, 2016

      Is presenting amendments to the public part of the procedures to amend laws in the country? If it isn’t what would be the purpose/benefit of doing it this time? Would a public discussion assist in anyway in the amendment of the law, would that further delay the amending of the said law?

      Just a few questions?

      #OLD

      • Viewsexpressed
        March 7, 2016

        What laws are you referring to…
        Have you not heard of decency and transparency inn public office. Yo have GIS and DBS abused by this Corrupt DLP government. Also, you do not think it important to have debates in the house on such matters?
        Some people have been aligned too long and too deep with this inept DLP government and their doctored government.

      • Face the Facts
        March 7, 2016

        This is a start.
        The Attorney General stated: ” . . . concerns were raised by members of the public as well as persons involved in the legal profession as it relates to inadequacies in the Sexual Offensive Act of 1998 as it currently stands.”
        Have no fear. They are hearing and listening. The public is heard, be it through radio, internet, TV and newspaper. They took note of what everyone stated. Whatever is feasible, it will be taken into consideration. Some of them could be implemented.
        This is why when comments are submitted or word of mouth, verbal information is stated, those who do must ensure that what they state makes sense for possible consideration. At the same time, the government is the one who has the final say and decides what is suitable and beneficial for legislating.

      • Just Me
        March 7, 2016

        In certain instances public consultation before making legislative changes is carried out. I would say that this circumstance deserves a NATIONAL Debate; give the public a chance to have their say

  25. March 7, 2016

    W.A. m.

  26. Man Kindedness
    March 7, 2016

    Age of consent should also be raised to 18 the same as alcohol .
    Longer jail sentences and more exposure of those who commit sexual offenses .

    • ????????
      March 7, 2016

      21 years. as I see it, 18 years person most of them cannot be classified adults… no common sense although you have certain levels of maturity (some mature quicker than others – I mean brain maturity)

  27. Lang Mama
    March 7, 2016

    https://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/general/political-leaders-add-voice-to-child-sex-abuse-debate/

    In May 2015 Roosevelt Skerrit the government said that there was no need for legislative amendments. Now we know that somebody is lying. Levi says that his administration started working on the amendments is March 2015.

    • JAHHHHHH!!!RASTAFARIIIII
      March 7, 2016

      Are u a nit picker?

    • ????????
      March 7, 2016

      Lang…. read the article again. Here are the excerpts from the article u linked.

      Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit thinks that although a good legislative framework is needed, it won’t necessarily solve the problem, unless society speaks up, while Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton believes although making amendments to the legislation will not solve the problem, it will send a strong message that protecting children is important.
      Skerrit also urged parents to stop protecting those who abuse their children.

      “Parents should not hide these things, you must not keep it a secret,” he stated, adding that in some cases the matter is reported, investigated, sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), goes before the court, and the main witnesses are not present or refuses to speak and it has to be adjourned.

      I read that above but why do you all distort the truth & say things that are not true.

      • March 8, 2016

        But the law as it is now, it is a strong piece of legislation,” he noted. “In my respectful view, in some cases it has even gone beyond reasonableness in its content. That, not-withstanding, you still have these cases and an increasing number of them”

        These are Skerrit’s word. The law as it is is adequate and gone beyond reasonableness. Is that someone keen on amending the law?.
        Am I lying? If this administration was interested there would have been amendments particularly when over the last 5 years the sexual offense against minors has been alarming. Over a hundred cases per year reported in the court.
        You see you Laborites are programed to right wrong by any means necessay. Even attempted murder and hit man hire.

    • oh Yes
      March 7, 2016

      Very good frame of reference Lang Mama. Let the incompetents eat their own words.

    • Thomas
      March 7, 2016

      Yes somebody is lying but that person might be you. Skerrit did not say there were no need for legislative amendments. He was only emphasising that we as parents or citizens who witness these disgusting acts should speak out. He was emphasising that they should speak out to the point where they are in court as witnesses to the matter. And that is a real problem because no matter how harsh the legislation, unless people step up as witnesses the matter will most likely go ‘unpunished.’ So he was basically giving ‘speaking out’ more importance over ‘legislative amendments.’ He did not say there were no need for amendments or they were not considering amendments.

    • Expat
      March 7, 2016

      Iam still waiting for the condemnation of the opposition parliamentarian from certain people who have been very critical of the government. Are you going to call on him to resign?

    • Shameless
      March 7, 2016

      And the lies continue from this inept cabal. Just pure horse manure emanating from the vocal cavity of the apologists like a flowing river filled with excretion material :twisted: :twisted: . Shame shame shame on these cabalists but god is good all the time because one day someone will pay. 8)

      Always Assertive! :twisted:

    • Face the Facts
      March 7, 2016

      Some of you love to debase the PM and his words. Try to be broadminded and less critical, if not at all. Some critiques are uncalled for. They are unnecessary and do not make any sense. They are much ado about nothing. It is wise to leave well alone.
      It is evident most comments are from UWP supporters. This does not mean they are correct. They are extremely negative, critical, not enlightening and not constructive.
      The word is not lying. At that time he did not see the necessity for the amendment. Since it appears that sexual abuse is increasing, the time is ripe to amend it to suit the times. It takes something as this for them to return to the drawing board to revise it and legislate it
      We could say, finally, something concrete is being done.

      • jonathan st jean
        March 8, 2016

        Are you for real?You said at the time he did not see the need to do something about it. Where have you been?From 2011 there have been reported over 100 cases to the courts each year and the numbers keep going up each year.It makes my sick in my stomach to hear this crazy comment coming from a woman. I know you want to defend Skerritt, but certain things are indefensible in the face of the facts.Shame on you

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