Hazel Thompson-Ahye

Hazel Thompson-Ahye

Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye has urged government to redouble efforts to eliminate the huge amount of pornographic material circulating in the country.

“Certainly it is putting ideas into people’s heads, is getting people aroused and is causing them to commit crime,” she said, speaking on the Sexual Offences Amendment bill in the Senate on Tuesday.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday which gives the public the right to access a sex offender website providing names, photographs and date of birth of convicted sex offenders.

In the debate, Thompson-Ahye spoke of a man who sexually abused his granddaughter and it involved one single act. “He said hitherto he had been a model citizen and father but he was introduced to a lot of pornographic material in books and videos and there was born the harm that he perpetrated,” she said.

She said the Parliament and social services should also address the issue of juvenile sex offenders which anecdotal evidence suggested was “much more prevalent than we realise, especially within families, brothers and sisters, cousins and step-brothers with devastating long term effects on young girls”. Child abuse often remains hidden and undisclosed, she said.

“Children are suffering and we need to work on them as best as we can,” she said. With respect to the work of the Children’s Authority, she said things had improved but a lot still had to be done.

Thompson-Ahye said the bill dealt with detection of a crime that was traditionally grossly under-reported. The Sex Offenders website applied only to those who are convicted,she said, adding that the website therefore represented a small pool of sex offenders.

She said the Senate was being “delusional” if it felt that enacting legislation for a public sex offenders website would make children safe from predators. “Sex offenders who come to the attention of the law represent only the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “I can’t believe I am hearing that there are only 11 convicted offenders are in the prison for rape, five for indecent assault and one for sex with a minor. So all the others are on Remand, what is happening?” she asked.

Unauthorised access

Thompson-Ayhe said she supported the bill’s inclusion of sex offenders from outside of the country being on the sex offenders website. She said the country had one precedent of a registered sex offender from outside entering the country undetected - Nicki Minaj’ husband. “Fortunately he did not make ‘mas’ here,” she said.

Thompson-Ahye said the Commissioner of Police should make every effort to ensure that the information published on the website is protected from unauthorised access, collection, misuse, alteration or disposal.

She pointed out that if the offender is out on bail pending an appeal for years his name may never make the website and this would defeat the purpose of protecting the population from the sex offender. She said some offenders have clever lawyers well able to manipulate the court system. On the other hand, she said a registered offender, after a period of good behaviour, should be provided with the opportunity to be released from the sex offenders registry.

Thompson-Ahye asked what has happened to the plan to expedite matters in the criminal court by moving the Civil Division of the court to Tower D. She asked whether the plan had become a casualty amidst the increased demands on the Treasury during the pandemic.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Taxpayers have forked out close to $4 million in legal fees in the matter of Vertical Aviation LLC and the lease of the Sikorsky S76D helicopter by the former government.

Vertical Aviation had claimed the Government failed to satisfy its obligations under the lease by not paying rent and interest due for late rent payments, failed to replenish the security deposit after the aviation company applied the deposit funds to late rent payments, failed to enrol the aircraft in a tip-to-tail maintenance programme and did not maintain insurance for the aircraft.

Professor of molecular genetics and virology at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Christine Carrington says while there are yet no confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, it is only a matter of time before the highly transmissible variant is detected here.

Carrington was speaking during yesterday’s virtual news conference hosted by the Ministry of Health.

A 41-year-old woman remained in police custody yesterday, being questioned in connection with the murder of Maritime General and Fidelity Finance chairman and Piarco Airport corruption accused John Smith, 74, on Friday afternoon.

Around 4.30 p.m. on Friday, offi­cers of the Maraval Police Station responded to a call that there was a domestic dispute at a residence in Haleland Park, Saddle Road, Mara­val.

For decades, Trinidad and Tobago has battled a raging gang problem.

Successive governments and law enforcement have fought to reduce criminal organisations which have engaged in well-executed mafia-style illegal operations, including drug and gun running, money laundering, prostitution, extortion, and crimes like murders, robberies and even what are regarded as white-collar ventures.

THE manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) who cleared an employee of any wrongdoing following a complaint against him has signed an affidavit saying he was repeatedly called upon to change his findings in the matter.

He also said he was denied several requests to interview the Min­ister of Public Utilities for a “witness statement in the matter”.

What happened in the canefield was a planned and frenzied assault, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-­Hinds said, in deli­vering guilty verdicts yesterday on Sean Luke murderers Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo.

Recommended for you