Sex offenders must be convicted to be on registry

Acting Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne of the Gender Based Violence Unit at the press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain. - Sureash Cholai
Acting Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne of the Gender Based Violence Unit at the press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain. - Sureash Cholai

HEAD of the Gender-Based Violence Unit (GBVU) acting Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne, on Tuesday debunked what she said was the public belief that people charged for a sexual offence would be promptly registered on the National Sexual Offender’s Registry.

“Looking at social media for the last couple of days, persons feel that once a person is charged for a sex offence that they can automatically be registered on the sex offenders registry," she said. "That is not the case.

She explained that the offender must be charged and convicted and a judge must make an order for that person to be placed on the registry.

Guy-Alleyne was speaking at the weekly media conference at the Police Administration Building.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mc Donald Jacob said even though the registry is not available to the public, the database is designed so that the police would be aware of all the people charged with various sexual offences to help them with their investigations.

“Even though they are convicted and deemed a sexual offender by the court, we will also have that record, so it will be available to the police officers to assist them with their investigation," he said.

Guy-Alleyne also gave details about the launch of the Sexual Offences Unit in “early 2021.” She said it will operate similarly to the Gender-Based Violence Unit.

She explained the need for the new unit, saying people "may ask: Another unit within the TTPS?

"But these victims are really special – not that I’m playing down other victims – in that the crimes that are perpetrated towards them are crimes that are heinous and persons can be embarrassed.

“It’s easier to train a smaller group within the organization to deal with these special victims than to train the 8,000 (police officers) to have that mindset.”

She said the commissioner wanted to create an avenue where victims will be comfortable and help reduce the trauma they suffer.

Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith expanded on how the unit will be run, saying, “I do not want to have a unit whenever there is a situation of rape where persons, if and when they have that type of crime, that they would just go to a police station and remain in a corridor for several hours waiting to be swabbed.

“With the Sexual Offences Unit, it’s going to give that avenue for professionalism, confidentiality, sensitivity and making sure we have the type of technology that we can go back to several years, where it is we can have the DNA be tested from an individual and probably link that individual to sexual offences from years gone by. That system of forensic testing…will be part of this system of dealing with sexual offences via the establishment of such a unit.”

Another serious matter the CoP said the police will be dealing with in the near future is child pornography and child prostitution.

“There’s going to be a game-changer, dealing with a situation in this country that we have trivialised or probably ignored – child pornography, child prostitution.”

He said he will say more on this in the next few weeks.


"Sex offenders must be convicted to be on registry"

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