Sex offender list petition filed

| 02/11/2010

(CNS): Community activist Sandra Catron finally managed to get her petition for a sex offender’s register in the Cayman Islands filed with government on Tuesday. For several years Catron has been campaigning for the establishment of an official public list of convicted sex offenders which will name and shame those who have been found guilty of a sex related crime in order, Catron says, to make it more difficult for them to continue offending. Catron collected more than 1,100 local names for her petition but has been struggling for many months to get the petition accepted by the authorities. Finally, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Franz Manderson, agreed to take the petition at the Glass House. (Photo by Dennie WarrenJr)

Catron says that the anonymity that these offenders have, which is given to them indirectly in order to protect victims from public exposure, merely allows offenders to keep re-offending once they are released from jail and does nothing at all to help the victims.

“My motivation is to protect the child victims and anonymity merely protects the perpetrators, who continue to abuse because people do not know who they are,” Catron told CNS after she had delivered the petition. Aware of the problems that many offenders are related to their victims and that the register would not be a fix-all, she said it was a step forward towards the community as a whole coming together to protect these young victims. “If nothing else it is a gesture to the victims to say we care and we are going to support you by exposing the perpetrators.”

She said it was important to start somewhere and find a way of stopping these offenders returning to the family situation where they committed the abuse in the first place and either continue to abuse the same victims or pick out new ones. If everyone knows it becomes harder for offenders to find victims.

Catron said the implementation of a register had to go hand in hand with much more support and counselling for victims as well as wider awareness of the real harm caused to victims. She said the petition was a first step and an expression of support for a proper register. Although there is a lot of work to be done before the register becomes a reality, Catron said that at least government was now aware of how much support there was for it.

It is not clear whether any register that is created would be held by the police or a ministry. Manderson cited the questions over which government department would eventually be responsible for it as the reason for the delay in government being able to accept Catron’s petition. Manderson has said he will hold on to the petition for a period of 21 days for review before handing the document over to elected officials to debate how they want to move forward.

Catron believes she has the support of law enforcement officials but wants to ensure that the register is an open public list and not just limited to the authorities and relevant agencies. “It is entirely pointless having a list that the public cannot access as it cannot prevent future offending if the wider community is not on their guard against an offender,” Catron said, adding that she did not believe vigilantism in Cayman would be an issue in the community as she had seen little outrage about the widespread abuse of children in the society.

Now the petition is in the hands of government, Catron says she hopes that the government will move quickly to enact the necessary legislation to establish the register. “Government has moved at what seems like lightening speed on some laws recently. I hope it will take this petition seriously and give this issue some priority.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy that this petition is already in progress as I myself was thinking how i could start something like this. I have experienced sexual abuse in my family first-hand and the perpetrator even though he was found guilty was never given jail time but given a suspended sentence. It hurts to know someone has turned your life up-sided-down and has emotionally scar your family for life but never pays the price for his actions.

    People need to know who these persons are especially for the sake of our children! This guy went back into his regular life like nothing happened, he even was dealing with children(and probably still is). This is crazy and shouldnt be allowed

    Kudos to you Ms Sandra for the work you are doing. I wish i could contact you to have my name added to your petition!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Sandra. Keep up the good work! You are always working for the greater good.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If we’re going to do this, why discriminate?  Wouldn’t we like to know where all the prior offenders live, not just the sexual ones?  Shouldn’t we also want to know where murderers and gang members live also?  How far back do we go?  At what point do we draw the line?  What if your household is the only one NOT on the list? 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not discrimination. Unlike murderers and robbers sexual offenders have the highest rate of re-offending as well as never getting caught in the first place. Our children are especially vulnerable. Unlike like murders/robbery there is no secrecy and scorge of silence. The very nature of sexual offences means that most are not even reported and the perpetrators is able to get away with it for long periods of time.

      Victims of murder are known to us – even if dead. Victims of sexual abuse/assault are often ashamed and do not share their stories. Why are we not discussing how to support them?

      Please don’t debase this effort. It’s a good idea. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a criminal of any kind in my household. I’m also insulted by your insinuation that all households have at least 1 criminal in it. PLEASE don’t me a jackass just because you can. Think about the real purpose of this registry and the other points in the petition and how beneficial they are.

      Think about the real message of supporting victims of sexual abuse and what that means. Think about the real message of improving the way that child victims are handled in the court system. Think about these things that are being done in our community and being kept silent! Think about 1 in 4 people being victims of child abuse. Even as bad as other crimes are the statistics for them are NOT 1 in 4.

      Think …. before you decide to type!!

      • Anonymous says:

        "as well as never getting caught in the first place." 

        How are they going to be put on the list then?

  4. Anonymous says:

    We don’t think sick perpetrators are here? Read this:

    School officials at the St Ignatius Catholic School is warning parents about an unregistered visitor that came to the school and engaged some upper primary boys in conversation and then handed them a sheet of paper with a pornographic text.

    Sandra we support you 100% but I guess until the child of someone "important" is molested and that is exposed nothing will be done about this problem.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I just heard of an incident at one of our local schools – seems this is needed now more than ever. Let’s stop pretending the problem does not exist that does not protect our children NOR does it make the bad guys go away!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I applaud this initiative.  Ithas turned my mind to other similar issues such as our lax approcah to sexual harrassment.

    I endured it at work from my HR Manager (nonetheless) and felt I couldnt complain, I later endured it from fellow employees who were part of the "old boys club" so nothing came of it.

    I hate that I wasnt strong enough to speak up about it.  These sorts of issues truly are a dirty little secret in Cayman, thankfully now that I am older and more outspoken I will never allow this to go unreported again.  I applaud Sandra for this campaign and I support it fully (I signed the Pet)!!

  7. Da fluff says:

    It is sure funny how we elevated some predators in our society who are clearly a menace to society.

  8. Leave Out First-Time Offenders says:

    I too believe that perpatrators should be exposed; however, and I know I will get thumbs down for this, but some alleged perpatrators have turn their lives around – they have reformed their ways and are no more a threat to the community. Hence, I do feel that FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS should NOT be exposed. They should be given a chance to reform their ways.

    Another thing that may be problematic by exposing these perpatrators, is the fact that many of them have moved on with their lives and aremarried, have children, and stable lives. Imagine the shock and shaking of that persons family stability. Imagine the breaking up of homes, exposing someone may cause. Imagine how the children will feel… the reputation of being related to a former sex-offender. Imagine their self esteem. The children will see Dad in a different light… or even a spouse. And what if the offender was innocently accused and convicted for a sexual offense.

    lol… like I said… I know I will get thumbs down. :o)

    But these things I wonder if Sandra ever considered. She seems to love court and controversy. But does she consider the repercussions of EXPOSING!

    Thus, I believe in not exposing FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS. They should be given a chance to wise-up and reform their ways. I know Mr. Manderson personally, and I will mention this to him. A 1000 signatures is a statement, but its going to lead to the EXPOSING OF ALL OFFENDERS WITH NO REGARD TO CIRCUMSTANCES. I feel that could lead to serious repercussions to people who may have changed for the better.

    Peace :o)

    • Anonymous says:

      Please educated yourself on this matter. By the time someone is caught and convicted they have offended at least 25 times – these are stats from the states but I’m sure they can apply here also.

      This is NOT a case of where someone is caught the VERY 1st time they abuse someone. Therefore, giving that person a pass is very dangerous and I cannot support such thinking.

      Please people 1in 4 of us are victims of abuse. Look around you – it’s everywhere and people suffer silently. This is such a scourge! Please support this initiative!!

      Thanks Sandra!

      • Anons says:

        May I say that this "initiative" does sound great, but the commenter made an excellent point. We sometimes in disgust and hate of an offense, overlook real and solid possibilities of a case. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the dangers and mishaps with exposing all such offenders. I would be embarrassed to know that someone in my household has their face in the newspaper as permanent sex offender. And I doubt that person who is branded would ever again consider reforming his life, because he may reasoned he has already been rejected and hated by society… why attempt to change when will never forgive. And also, I can think what if you had a son or daughter (God forbid) that was falsely accused of a crime, all to be exposed and branded for life?

        Now I like Sandra, don’t get me wrong, but I can tell you that it won’t be too long when you will see this very petition challenged under our new Constitution. Listen Cayman is not like some places in the Middle East where we just expose people and stone them to death. It doesn’t work here!  The problem is… we have a bill of rights embedded in the document. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Then explain how the USA which has a constitution around 200+ years old and a Bill ofRights and love to sue have had these registry’s in place since 1947 in California.

          Recently they also required all 50 states to have a registry and to tighten their laws in relation to this. 700,000 are registered in the USA and 100,000 are missing – likely in regions like Asia and the Caribbean where laws are so lax.

          We need to get with the program here. I agree this is a 1st step – but it sure beats doing nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I am inclined to agree that it is possible for a first time offender to rehabilitate I wonder would you agree to let a first time offender baby sit your child?  What I am saying is no-one wants to be the offender’s first victim but would you mind letting yourself or your child be their second victim.

      I won’t give a thumbs down because but there needs to be more in place to help people from re-offending.

  9. Protect our Kids says:

     Sandra, Thank you, Thank you!!! You should go down as a National Hero for caring about this issue and the ability to protect our children.   The community as a whole has a right to know who the offenders are so we can better protect and educate our children. The community as large has a right to know who these violators are!   Since most offenders are a "trusted" friend or family member we need all of the information we can get.    Sexual offenders especially against children has been "Caymans dirty little secret" for years.  Family members in Cayman cover up for the offender and NEVER get treatment for the victim.  This is much more common in Cayman than most people realize.

    As far as ZnaeymvR comments go, you are very sad.

    I can only ask you, "Why do YOU want to keep this swept under the rug, where it has been for far too long"

    The offenders registry is Long overdue.  Sandra Keep up the good work! Sexual abuse is everyone business. (unless you have something to hide). 

  10. Queenie says:

    I for one am very thankful that Mr Manderson have excepted the documents and is willing to look into it and then handover to the relevant responsible bodies so it can reach the LA.

    Thank you very much, Ms Sandra for not giving up. You know for a fact and for those of us that signed this that not only will the community feel safer but the offenders can know that we the people of these Islands do care about our loves ones and what they have done will not go on notice. For a petition like this, we need to have many protests, stand our grounds and win the fight against Molestation, Domestic Abuse and the whole works.
    Well done again Sandra and to everyone who signed, we did it for one and one for all.
  11. Anonymous says:

    It should have never taken her two years to get this in motion. The government should have put this into motion long ago and thank goodness we have people like Sandra keeping it in front of them otherwise it would not happen. We all know this. Government positions world wide are full of flunkies who can’t organize and get things done efficiently. Profitable companies are managed well from the top down. Governments can’t manage, can’t get things done efficiently but are floated by the taxpayer. There is no real incentive to do well like going out of business. They can’t go out of business. They just raise taxes to cover thier failings. It is a disaster.  Cayman is no exception. The real talent is in private enterprise. I have always thought that Cayman with a small border and small population could be managed like a large corporation. Managed well. Profitable, whos profits could be used for special programs to help people and the enviorment. We just have the wrong guys, the same guys. You won’t vote for Ex Pats. You can’t so how will you ever get new talent? Vote for younger guys? less experienced and less tainted. Their inexperience can be just as dangerous as the corrupt and inept. We will get what we get in the end.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We really need this and I would like to thank Sandra for working on this with so much tenacity! Most would have given up my now but I guess if there’s anything we know about Sandra she does not give up!

    Our children will be that much safer if we put this in place.

  13. ZnaeymvR says:

    The Offender Registry has NOT been shown to decrease offfenses committed.  Sex offenders have the lowest rate of recidivism without the list, and this seems to have barely changed with the advent of the List.  These laws are nothing more than "feel-good" laws.  So I hope Sandra feels proud that she is really accomplishing nothing.  Worry about you and your own, and mind your own business when it comes to others! 

    • Anonymous says:


      You need to read the entire petition/article. It called for more things than the registry alone include education, mandatory reporting (which the last government had the sense to adopt after the petition came out), better treatment options for victims etc.

      ABUSE IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS – and I wholeheartedly support Sandra on this one. You should showed your ignorance by wanting to cover up what these offenders do – can you believe that someone in this day and age would actually tell someone to mind their own business when it comes to child molestation? You need professional help!

      No one said the petition is going to solve all of our problems but its a step in the right direction when it comes to providing the public with information. I want to know who these people are! We recently had one move into the BT area – 5 minutes from the school and talking to people’s kids.

      All sensible communities around the world already have this in place including Jamaica – why are we delaying?

    • Anonymous says:

      what an idiotic response! i surely hope your children don’t get abused after a repeated offender. At least someone is doing something! as a parent i definetly will like to know what is rooming around my neighborhood.

  14. Bushwhacker by trade, realist by necessity says:

    This is a clear example that ignorance in the electorate prevails. I am searching to find one senisble and reasoned motion drafted and presented to the LA by the BT members especially the new BT two since taking office.

    Where are all of the promises uttered on their platforms during the campaign??

    I hope and prayer for the sake of the next gereneration that our electorate becomes better informed and self reliant in a hurry and start electing persons such as Sandra who appears to have a drive to do more for the community at large and the next generation than the bench warmers we are consistently voting back in such as but not limited to, can you say Eugene Ebanks!!!

    Sandra good work and please note that you might not have won the battle but it appears that you have won your war!

    • Anonymous says:

      your so right. BT members are busy getting arrested for personal matters– how would they have time to deal with their representatives business?

  15. NorthSideSue says:

    Thank you, Sandra!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Another feather in Sandra’s cap. Well done!  Hope it doesn’t sit on someone’s shelf and gather dust.