Home Letters Register sex offenders and enact a ‘3 strikes’ law
For more than two decades, I have written letters to the media and spoken on national television about the urgent need to register sex offenders and post signs outside the homes of criminals released after serving jail time for sex crimes against adults and minors.
During that time, I have also advocated tirelessly for the enactment of a ‘three strikes’ law to impose automatic sentences of life imprisonment on the third conviction for serious crimes by persistent offenders.
The issue of a registry of sex offenders is a hot issue again because a poll conducted in June and July by The Caribbean Voice found that Guyanese overwhelmingly support the establishment of such a registry. I am not at all surprised because it makes good sense.
I commend The Caribbean Voice for conducting the poll and also for initiating a petition for the Government of Guyana to do whatever is necessary to establish a national sex offender’s registry. I hope this petition will get so much support that Government will be forced to respond quickly and positively.
There is no doubt in my mind that this should also be a regional movement. That is why I support the move by The Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes (CCASC) to start a petition in St Lucia as a pilot project to press for a sex offender registry for the entire Caribbean.
In fact, I strongly advise President David Granger to follow the example of Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell who announced last December that his Government will enact legislation to register convicted sex offenders and establish a special victims unit.
Many developed countries, including Canada, the USA and New Zealand register sex offenders, so why not us? America even has Megan’s Law, which forces convicted sex offenders against children to notify local Police of any change of address or employment after release from custody.
Registered convicted pedophiles in the USA also have notices identifying them as Child Sex Offenders posted outside their homes, and their passports are stamped with a special marker to alert people when they travel.
I believe Guyana should set the standard in the Caribbean for dealing with sex criminals.
The names, photographs and personal data of sex offenders should be published in all media and on all community bulletin boards as a social service. The Police also need to use social media to oust sex criminals by creating a website or Facebook page identifying wanted or convicted offenders.
I believe that Guyana should also follow the lead of the USA’s Megan’s Law and enact laws to put a special stamp on each page of the passport of every convicted sex criminal so that wherever they travel in the world, people will be warned.
I know ‘bleeding hearts’ will squirm at my suggestions, but powerful action is absolutely necessary.
The bleeding-heart brigade might say these perverts are all sick. If they are sick, then put them away for a long time. In many cases, little can be done for them other than castration. This is why the holy books have spoken about castration or death sentences for sexual offences.
We also have to be careful not to allow foreign sex criminals to slip into Guyana secretly to do their dirty deeds. I know that Interpol sends out ‘green notices’ about registered sex offenders and the US Department of Justice will partner with any nation to share sex offender data, provided there are laws in place to allow this. Guyana has to take full advantage of such opportunities.
I want to point out that while announcing plans to establish a sex offender’s registry in Grenada, Prime Minister Mitchell said: “We have also heard the overwhelming cries of our people and we are, therefore, pushing to enact the necessary legislative changes…”
This statement tells me that patriots like me who are fighting for a lawful, peaceful and united Guyana have to raise our voices and create a massive outcry to get the necessary changes to cut crime in Guyana. Only the ‘overwhelming cries of the people’ will spur our leaders into action.
Roshan Khan Snr