by Linda Straker
Chester Humphrey, President of the Senate, wants to see more severe penalties for those who commit sexual crimes, and 2 of his recommendations are the flogging of convicted perpetrators and establishing a sexual offenders court.
Humphrey is of the opinion that too many times perpetrators are given lenient sentences. He also wants to see the court hand out more firmer sentences. “This is not an attack on the judiciary at all, but the leniency of the punishment meted out to sex offenders!” he told senators during his closing remarks of the Upper Houses session last week Friday.
“Today, sexual crimes are on the rise. At every assizes, as a percentage of the overall list of people answering charges, we see increasing incidents of sexual offence. I think the time has come for the legislature to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves and to protect the dignity and integrity of our women and girls in particular,” said Humphrey. He believes that there should be no discount on sentences for time served while accused are awaiting trial in the remand section of the prison.
He further recommended some immediate measures. “I will wish to see the following measures be immediately put in place in the form of legislative changes: I will strongly suggest the setting up of a sex offenders court where justice can be swiftly delivered; I will wish to see increases in the penalties for sex offences particularly against children, in this regard I will like to see the return of flogging, particularly with the cat-o-nine tail as used to happen under the colonial times,” he told the House, while calling for all convicted of sex crimes to receive psychological training and evaluation.
Humphrey believes that legislation should be introduced to set minimum prison sentences for those convicted of sexual offences — particularly offences involving children — and supports the call for the setting up of a sex offenders register. He wants to see the registration of all those convicted of sexual offences and for that register to be published annually.
Another recommendation from Humphrey is an amendment to the law banning bus drivers and conductors once they are charged with a sexual offence. “I wish to see the immediate suspension of any omnibus driver or conductor who has been charged with a sexual offence, particularly against children. I don’t understand how you can have a situation where someone charged with moving the nation’s children is charged with a sexual offence and because he is ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we continue to expose children to his predatory conduct,” he said.