The Business and Professional Women (BPW) Dominica Chapter has stated its intention to advocate, in the new year, for a sex offenders registry in Dominica.
President of BPW Dominica, Rhoda St. John, said the organization will work with other women’s groups in the region to ensure the sex offenders registry becomes a reality.
“We are working with a number of Caribbean islands where we’re going to be looking at getting the sex offenders registries implemented in as many of the Caribbean islands as we can in 2020,” she explained.
A sex offenders registry is a system in various countries designed to allow government authorities to keep track of the activities of sex offenders, including those who have completed their criminal sentences.
St. John said the aim is to make a list which will be made public in order to create awareness of the perpetrators in the various Caribbean countries.
“As to if it is going to be approved by the government is another question that is left to be answered but we will be advocating that our laws and the government look at the sex offenders registry as we would like every Caribbean island to implement it seeing that it is an act against women,” she urged.
The BPW president said that in order for the organisation to take an effective stand against violence, a sex offenders registry is one of the things that need to be implemented
At the moment, sex offender registries exist in two English-speaking Caribbean countries, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Just recently, on Friday the 13th September 2019, the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago unanimously passed the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill 2019 in the House of Representatives making Trinidad and Tobago is now the smallest country in the world to pass a form of public sex offender registration.
The amendment provides for public access to an online sex offenders registry and gives the court the discretion to decide which offender goes on the registry in order to allow due process to balance off the sex offender’s right to private and family life under the Trinidad and Tobago constitution.
The bill also provides many other groundbreaking provisions including mandatory DNA and STD testing for sex offenders and a compensation provision for victims who contract STDs from perpetrators.
The Caribbean Committee Against Sex crimes is encouraging all CARICOM member states to review the Trinidad and Tobago bill and consider adopting some of its provisions in order to help deter sex crime regionally.
The Committee points out that not every state needs to go the route of a public sex offenders registry as they can choose to follow the UK and Canadian models of having a registry only accessible to the police.