Sarah Flood-Beaubrun has told reporters here that the level of sex abuse and child sex abuse that take place in Saint Lucia is ‘absolutely abhorrent’ and ‘unacceptable’,
“It is absolutely unacceptable,” Flood-Beaubrun declared when asked to comment on the announcement Monday by Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, of plans to establish a national sex offender registry.
“I think it is important that if sex offenders have been convicted, the society ought to know –they ought to be aware,” the External Affairs Minister asserted.
She noted that countries overseas which have systems that work better than those in Saint Lucia conduct background checks on individuals who have to be involved in any way with children, whether in a church, community or a day care centre, to determine whether they have been convicted of sex offences where children would be put at risk.
“If that is flagged you are not allowed to work in any setting with children whatsoever,” Flood-Beaubrun noted.
The minister said there was need to implement such measures properly.
However she acknowledged that untrue allegations can be made.
”But certainly when someone has been convicted, particularly as we live in a small society, person need to be aware that such and such a person has been convicted of an offence relating to that kind of crime and due caution will be taken,” the minister told reporters.
“This is important because crimes of this nature – persons who commit these crimes tend to repeat it if they are not rehabilitated and for this reason it is important that the public is made aware, so that precautions can be taken – and of course we are talking about persons who hav ben tried and convicted in a court of law,”
Flood-Beaubrun expressed the view that a sex offender registry, if properly implemented can serve as a protection and one of the measures in the fight against crime.
But she observed that by itself, the registry will not solve the problem.
“We have to look at the fact that we live in a society that is highly sexualized. Children are highly sexualised the environment we live in, the ads that are played on TV, the music that encourages violence and sexual violence. All of these things are important” the minister observed.
She explained that a holistic approach has to be adopted towards violence and sexual violence.