Government’s attempt to amend the Criminal Records Rehabilitation of Offenders Act got some pushback today from one of its own senators who is worried that sexual predators might find comfort in the amended legislation.
Senator Reginald Hunte offered conditional support to the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Amendment Bill which seeks to reduce the time convicted persons must wait before they can apply to have their criminal records erased.
Hunte told the Upper Chamber that while he supported the amendment, he was concerned that paedophiles could end up having their history of sexual assaults removed from the records.
The Government senator contended there were “a lot of people” in Barbados who sexually abused young boys and girls years ago but never faced criminal prosecution.
He described Barbados as “push under the carpet society” where some people, because of their status in society, escaped criminal charges for their abuse of children; but he expected that the whirlwind of famous men falling from grace in the United States would soon happen here.
“The [amendment] is to give people a chance that they can walk the straight and narrow path. But for me, I have my reservations about what they have committed and for me, if you are a paedophile I have my reservations about you and I am saying that quite clearly.
“I have my reservations about you. I make no secret about it. I love children . . . . I support this bill even more than 110 per cent but I state my position in my capacity as a person who does a service for the community and the country,” Hunte told the Senate.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs Jepter Ince said Barbados should always seek to be an inclusive society.
He said unless people felt wanted in the country and its justice system “then we are going to have problems”.
Furthermore, he said it was incumbent upon the society to seek to change lives for the better and for people to be optimistic about Barbados’ future.