Saturday, February 8, 2014

PM: New police unit to deal with sexual offences against children

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar:(Guardian photo)
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced on Friday that she is setting up a special Police unit to deal with offences against children, including teenage pregnancies. 

She made the announcement after she met with members of the National Security Council, which she chairs. She described the number of teenage pregnancies as a "grave danger" facing children.

She said the police service would recruit 1,000 members and 500 others for the Special Reserved Police (SRP), in the coming weeks.  

The Prime Minister dismissed suggestions that teens encourage adults to engage in sexual activity. "There is no excuse and no exception. I would not tolerate that at all."

She stated that anyone who knows that a child is sexually active with an adult is required by law to report that to the police. She said anyone who fails to report such activity be fined $15,000 on summary conviction or seven years imprisonment or the combination of both. She explained that this includes parents, guardians, other caregivers and teachers.

Persad-Bissessar also explained that anyone found guilty of having sex with a girl under the age of 14 is liable to life imprisonment, 12 years for first offenders who have sex with girls between 14 to 16, while second time offenders face 15 years on conviction.  

She promised that the Ministry of Gender Youth and Child Development would begin a public education programme but made it clear that ignorance of the law is not a defence.

She also announced that the council also mandated the Child Protection Task Force to amend the terms of the Child Protection Task Force for research and review of the issues and to provide recommendations to treat with it.   

The PM said the task force would meet with the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), National Parent and Teachers Association (NPTA), the Medical Professionals Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT) and other stakeholders.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai