MEMBERS of the public will soon be able to learn the identities of any convicted sex offenders living amongst them, according to a new bill laid in the Senate on Tuesday in the name of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2021.
The Commissioner of Police (CoP) shall maintain a Public Sex Offender Website, the bill mandates, which the public can access at the click of a mouse.
Two years ago in February 2019 Al-Rawi had piloted the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019 which had proposed the CoP compile an online public register of convicted sex offenders, whose passports would also be stamped with a public warning.
However, while the register was approved as a document to stay in police hands, public access to it was denied (as was a passport stamp,) after a recommendation by a Senate Special Select Committee at the urgings of a group of NGOs including CAISO, Womantra and the Institute of Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI.)
The NGOs had suggested publicity could expose the offender and his relatives to danger and harm efforts at his rehabilitation. However, since the kidnapping and murder of Andrea Bharatt, 23, and Ashanti Riley, 18, many people including Riley’s mother have called for public access to a sexual offenders register.