MINISTER of National Security Wayne Munroe with the new kiosk yesterday.
Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
A KIOSK has been unveiled as part of the process to digitise the Sexual Offenders Registry.
The kiosk was presented to the Wulff Road Police Station yesterday by National Security Minister Wayne Munroe, Acting Commissioner of Corrections Doan Cleare and other officials and will allow the information to be accessed electronically.
Mr Munroe said that as of July last year, there was a fully staffed section devoted to managing the sexual offenders register, to ensure that all sex offenders sentenced as of that date were added to it. This follows the passing of the Sexual Offenders Amendment Act in 2014, which came into effect in July 2019.
Offenders sentenced since July 24, 2019, are placed on the register – with 27 offenders to date on the register.
The registry unit is part of the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS). Seven months ago, the operations were manual and officials are now moving to fully digitise it.
With the new system, magistrates can log on in court and transmit information directly.
Mr Munroe said: “Upon the release from prison, the offender is required within 72 hours to say where they are going to reside. Again, that used to be manual, it’s now being digitised and the offender must now come to this system and register on a first instance.
“If the offender is moving, they have to keep us informed as to where they are. If they’re travelling anywhere for more than seven days, as the Act currently scheduled [says], they have to notify of where they’re travelling.”
Mr Munroe warned that the notification of sex offenders being released is not to permit retaliation or punishment of the offender – and said it should only be used for its legitimate purpose. He said if retaliation were to take place, “the experience in other jurisdictions have disclosed the judges will then remove people from the register and we will lose the very valuable ability to track them”.
The Crisis Centre has been consulted on the issue of notification and the form it should take.
Mr Munroe said: “What I’ve asked the Attorney General to have a look at for us is whether or not for the person who may be in prison who were sentenced before July 2019, if we may not be able to give notification of them even if we can’t insist that they report where they are and that.
“So there’s a difference between an obligation the courts have found as a sentence and our ability even for sexual offenders before 2019 to notify the public or notify persons. As the commissioner has said this is a crime for which there’s very little rational reason for, and to my mind, persons have a degree of disorder. So we must exercise care.
Speaking to reporters at the event, Stephanie St Fleur, of Human Rights Bahamas and Rise Bahamas, said: “Make the law retroactive at least 20 years instead of 2017, include the first-time offender’s name, date of birth, current address, current photograph, identification marks, tattoos, scars, vehicle information, type of employment and address, sex offence for which the offender is being convicted for. So we suggesting they push it at least 20 years.
“There were so many grievous harms done to women and children before 2017 so who are we protecting putting this law to 2017?”