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Senate approves parenting and sexual offenders legislation

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer Senior Reporter

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 6:39 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Senate approved both the National Parenting Support Commission Act and the Sexual Offences (Registration of Sex Offenders) Regulations 2012 at its sitting on Friday (October 12).

The Act enables the establishment of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), which will have responsibility (among other things) for overseeing the implementation and operation of the National Parenting Support Policy.

The regulations enable the creation of a sex offender registry by the Correctional Services to maintain a register, and the establishment of an office of the Registrar as the location from which the affairs of sex offenders registration centres are administered and directed.

The regulations note that all information in the Registry and the Register shall be secret and confidential, and the Registrar shall only allow access to both in accordance with the provisions of the regulations. The regulations related to the Sex Offender’s Act, which was passed by Parliament in 2009 and became effective in 2011.

The Bill which originated in the House of Representatives where it was approved, will now be sent back to the House to be signed-off on, while the regulations will also go to the House but to be debated and sent back to the Senate. There were no amendments to either document as Opposition senators supported the sentiments of both pieces of legislation.

Minister of Justice, Mark Golding, piloted the Sexual Offenders Act regulations, while Minister with responsibility for Information, Sandrea Falconer, piloted the National Parenting Support Commission Bill.

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