Archive for February 27th, 2013

Activists call for review of sex offender sentencing

| 27/02/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The recent community outcry over a suspended sentence given to a sex offender has resulted in local activists starting a video petition calling on legislators to review legislation and sentencing guidelines. While the case in question caused concerns, the judge had sentenced according to the local guidelines as the man was convicted on a charge of defilement and not rape. This was as a result of the decision by the Office of the  Director of Public Prosecutions not to press ahead with the rape charge but to accept his guilty plea on the second count of defilement. Activists are now seeking a review of the criminal justice system relating to sex crimes and in particular those involving children. 

“This is not about revenge or getting even," a spokesperson for the campaign said.  “This is about determining what kind of society we would like to be.”

Following the revelations about the case (see CNS story here) where the teen was sexually assaulted, the community was outraged by what some believe was a light touch with the two year suspended sentence. Activists are now pushing for a major review and debate about the issues surrounding the complexities and sensitivities associated with victims and offenders.

“There are no words to express how thoroughly we, as a community, have failed this child and so many others like her,” said Carolina Ferreira about the teen victim in Friday’s case. “Child sexual abuse is a complex, multi-faceted issue that will require a multi-organisational, holistic solution.  However, as is clearly illustrated by this case, a starting point is to review the cases and sentencing guidelines as this is clearly not the message that we want to send to our children about their worth.”

The activists are asking people to video their support for the petition to help raise the profile of the message. Ferreira said campaigners want supporters to record themselves reading the petition on their computers, smartphone or tablet and email it to carolla78@gmail.com. Once compiled, the video will be disseminated via email, You Tube, Facebook and any other media possible, she added.

The petition text is as follows:

I, (insert name here), am outraged, disheartened and disgusted by the fact that our current legal system is such that an adult who admits guilt over sexually assaulting a child is given more consideration than the victim of his/her crime. I *demand* that our elected representatives- and that means you:

Juliana O'Connor Connolly, Rolston Anglin, Mark Scotland, Cline Glidden, Dwayne Seymour, Alden McLaughlin, Kurt Tibbetts, Moses Kirkconnell, Anthony Eden, Ezzard Miller, Arden McLean, McKeeva Bush, Mike Adam, Ellio Solomon, and Eugene Ebanks-make the issue of child welfare, and more specifically child sexual abuse, a matter of priority and give it not only the attention but the action that it requires.  This is a multi-faceted, complex issue which will require amulti-sectorial, holistic solution. 

However, it is clear that a starting point is by doing a comprehensive review of the cases of child rape, assault and defilement and the current sentencing guidelines being used by judges.

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Two charged with conspiracy in missing person case

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

H Gonzalez December 2012.jpg(CNS): A 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman have been charged with conspiracy to pervert or defeat the course of justice in connection with a missing person’s case. Guyanese national Hemerson Raymond Gonzalez has been missing since Tuesday, 11 December, when he disappeared while visiting friends in the Cayman Islands. The 31-year-old man was said to be a regular visitor to the jurisdiction and was staying at an address in Canyon Dawn Drive, Savannah. Following his disappearance two women were arrested in January; one 25-year-old woman was arrested at that address on drug offences and a 19-year-old woman was arrested in Prospect on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

A third person was arrested at Owen Roberts International Airport on 11 January but the police did not reveal the man’s age or the details of his arrest. It is not clear if this is the same person that police have now charged.

It is anticipated that they will appear in court on Tuesday, 5 March.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez has still not been found. He speaks with a Guyanese accent, is about 5’ 8” tall, with a dark brown complexion and curly black hair. He weighs about 180lbs, has a tattoo of a compass on his left forearm and writing tattooed on the inside of his left wrist.

When last seen he was wearing brown jeans shorts, a t-shirt and blue low cut cloth shoes. At the time of his disappearance, police said that Gonzalez was feeling ill and had been suffering from severe vomiting. Checks with local hospitals at the time confirmed that he did not seek medical attention.

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Two more suspect dengue cases under investigation

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another two people with no travel history to country where dengue fever is endemic are suspected to have contracted the disease transmitted by mosquitoes locally. According to public health officials 42 suspected cases of the fever have already been investigated so far this year following on from the 94 cases reported last year.  The latest two patients were not residents of West Bay where most of those who have contracted the disease locally have stayed but one was from Bodden Town and the other George Town. Neither patient has been admitted to hospital.

Eleven results were received during this week from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) but only one was positive for dengue. So far 121 results have been returned 42 have been positives, 75 negative, and 4 were inconclusive. Local health officials are still waiting for a further 15 results.

Of the 42 confirmed cases this year only 12 had reported a travel history to endemic countries and 30 had no travel history, suggesting that they had acquired the dengue fever locally. Most of those patients were residents of West Bay where 25 transmissions appear  to have occurred. Meanwhile three people were residents of George Town and two from Bodden Town.

While thirty people have been admitted to hospital everyone, so far, has made a full recovery.

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