Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday the government will establish a sex offenders register “early in the new year”.
“The government is committed to the sex [offenders] register and we have drafted the legislation,” Bethel said.
“We will move on them next year as early as we can. We still have to go through some steps. I have to get [input] from my colleagues formally and I have to get a Cabinet paper. They have been drafted. They are being consulted on with the appropriate agencies and when that is ready it’ll sign off from them and we’ll take it to Cabinet.”
In late 2013, amendments to the Sexual Offenses Act and the Child Protection Act were debated and passed.
The bills were to provide for the creation of a sex offenders register and a Mandatory Action Rescuing Children Operation (MARCO) alert.
Earlier in the year, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said a register would be in place before the end of 2018.
Asked at the time what was holding up the register’s implementation, Dames said, “The attorney general’s office will have to do some things and the AG and I have had conversation on that already.”
The alert was named after Marco Archer, an 11-year-old boy, who was gruesomely murdered in 2011.
The MARCO alert system was implemented in July 2016; however, a sex offenders register has not been introduced to date.
Bethel said, “…If you look at the stats, we’re not sure how many were previously convicted. I don’t know who the suspects are. I don’t know. I don’t have [any] information. I’m speaking from the government’s point of view. I can’t speak from the Ministry of National Security’s point of view.”
Marco’s sister, Tanzia Humes, has insisted that her brother’s death should not be in vain and called for the enactment of Marco’s Law.
“We’re [walking around] blind,” Humes said.
“We don’t know who these people are around us and that’s what my fear is when it comes to my kid and I think that should be every parent’s fear because you don’t know who is who.
“So that list is something that is a must to help protect our kids, a tool to prevent some things from happening.
“I totally agree that it’s something we need to make happen as a country; as parents, we need to make it happen.”
Bethel said he was unable to provide a timeline as to when the register will be established because “it all depends on the agenda”.
“We intend to move on it next year,” he said.