The Public Sex Offenders website will certainly be carrying the names of convicted sex offenders and their locality.
The Attorney General’s Office made that clear after a news report carried on Tuesday which attributed a quote to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi saying the “public sex register will not carry names, just locations.”
However, the ministry stated yesterday that the AG did not say that nor is it in the proposed law.
Under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2021 which was debated in the Senate on Tuesday, two sex offenders’ registers are proposed—a website for the public and a register for the Police Service.
The ministry pointed out, “Clause 9 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2021 specifically provides that the public sex offender website will contain inter alia, the names of convicted sex offenders.”
“What was stated during the Attorney General’s contribution is that persons will have the opportunity to apply to the court for their information to be exempted from the website.
“It does not state that the public sex offender website will not carry names. Where an application for exemption does not succeed, the offender’s name will be on the website unless exempted by a court of law.’’
The AG had stated, “We are ensuring that the Commissioner of Police shall have a Public Sex Offenders website and that this website shall be maintained within the information provided. Note that we have said that we would put the locality of the sex offender, not the address, because the learning tells us you are not to put the specific address but rather the area, Port-of-Spain, San Fernando as it may be, to avoid the concept of victimisation.”
The ministry stated that the AG didn’t say that names will not be on the public sex offender website and this is not in the proposed law.
Rather, it said he stated that specific addresses will not be on the public sex offender website (this will be replaced by locality), nor will the information of persons who have already served their time and have come out of the court system (persons currently incarcerated do not fall under this category).
The ministry also stated that further to the report’s indication, the bill only requires simple majority votes for passage and doesn’t require Opposition support.
“Please note that special majority would mean Opposition support, which is no easy feat given the Opposition’s unwillingness in the crime-fighting critical crime fighting legislation. The Opposition proposed further flexibility on the part of the alleged sex offender by seeking to have included in the law, an opportunity for anyone to be able to apply to have persons exempted from being on the register. The Attorney General did not agree to this,” the ministry said.