Port of Spain, Trinidad, July 19, 2016– RE: Deportees from the USA are a burden on the Caribbean region, valid issues raised by Prime Minister Chastanet
This is a response to the interview with Prime Minister Chastanet, published in the Nation on the 11th of July 2016, as well as to the subsequent response, published on July 13th 2016, by the US Embassy in Barbados.
While the official statistics from the US government indicate that the total number of deportees returned to St. Lucia in the last 5 years is less than 100, this still represents an influx of potentially dangerous individuals to a developing state, which lacks a highly sophisticated law enforcement apparatus.
With regard to Sex Offenders, St. Lucia, like the majority of the Caribbean region, does not have an official Sex Offender Registry database. Ideally, a registered Sex Offender deported from the US to St. Lucia, would be automatically registered on a Sex Offenders Registry in St. Lucia. This cannot yet happen.
Further, crucial policies that are essential by-products of Sex Offender Registries, such as legislation to prevent sex offenders with certain inclinations from having certain jobs are also lacking. eg. a pedophile not being able to have a job at a kindergarten.
The Caribbean Committee against Sex Crimes is keen to work with both the St. Lucian and US governments to enact the necessary policies, which would cause the Caribbean region to comply with international best practice, with regard to Sex Crimes.
To this end we have drafted a treaty, which, when enacted, shall mandate that every Caribbean island has its own local Sex Offenders Registry. These local registries shall then be amalgamated to create a regional Registry, which shall be accessible to the US government and other international stakeholders.
A regional Registry is necessary, because of the freedom of movement facilitated by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which establishes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). If one or several CARICOM member states fail to implement Sex Offender Registry policies, this can significantly undermine regional security, by allowing Sex Offenders to travel to other CARICOM states undetected. This can result in further sex crimes being committed.
It is essential that every foreseeable loophole be closed, to prevent dangerous criminals from slipping through bureaucratic cracks and destroying lives. The US government shall benefit from these Sex Offender Registry policies, because whenever a CARICOM national enters the US, the US immigration and national security apparatus shall have access to this important information from the Caribbean region.
It is essential that all stakeholders, including the US government, the government of St. Lucia and other CARICOM governments, work diligently and swiftly to implement a regional Sex Offenders Registry and generally to create new policies to deal with deported criminals. This is necessary for the protection of the citizens of the Caribbean region from potential danger.
Jonathan Bhagan, Attorney-at-Law
Chairman, Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes