Way clear for sex offenders' registry
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION MEMBERS Olivia Grange and Shahine Robinson broke ranks and voted with the Government side to pass the regulations for the sexual offenders' registry yesterday.
The regulations were not passed without intense debate, leading to a dramatic divide at the committee stage.
Twenty-five members voted yea and five against with two abstentions. Only 33 of the 63 members of parliament were present at the time of the vote. The Speaker of the House was not required to vote.
Senior Opposition members Karl Samuda and Dr Horace Chang voted to abstain.
Leader of Opposition Business in the House Delroy Chuck led the way in voting against the regulations, with support from Pearnel Charles, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Gregory Mair and Dr Ken Baugh.
Charles had earlier raised serious objections to aspects of the regulation. He charged that members of the public should have unfettered access to the sex offenders' registry. The North Central Clarendon MP also wants the police to have responsibility for maintaining the registry.
The Department of Correctional Services has responsibility for maintaining the sex offenders' registry.
STRIKE OFF PARENTS
Charles also wants the names of the parents of the offenders' struck from the registry. His concerns were supported by Mair, who proposed amending the regulations.
Chuck asked for the suspension of debate on the regulations to allow members on both sides to "allay the concerns without having to go to a vote or close the debate".
But the attorney general was not in a mood to delay the passage of the regulations, noting that the Sexual Offences Act was passed on July 17, 2009.
He told the House that the law could not be in effect because there were no regulations. The regulations were tabled on October 16.