Charles makes technology appeal for policeFriday, October 22, 2021
BY ALPHEA SUMNER
Member of Parliament (MP) for St Thomas Eastern Dr Michelle Charles has called for more technological resources for the police so that they can monitor offenders as part of measures to clamp down on crime.
She made the call during her presentation in the state of the constituency debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Dr Charles was speaking against the background of the abduction of two girls in separate incidents in St Thomas last week — nine-year-old Phylisa Prussia and 13-year-old Winshae Barrett.
A search by police and citizens led to the children being found, and a manhunt is still under way for the alleged perpetrator, who has been charged with rape and illegal possession of firearm in neighbouring Portland.
The MP said matters would have been made easier if the person of interest in the abductions was fitted with an ankle bracelet.
“I am calling for the use of technology to enhance capabilities of the security forces to be able to track somebody. We should not have so much difficulty finding someone who is interacting with our own courts. If he had an ankle bracelet we would have known where he took it off or where he is if he took it off,” she said.
“I am calling for a restructuring of the mechanism to ensure that we know who is living among us,” Charles said, pointing to the Sex Offender Registry, which she said has not been effective.
“I'm calling for a more effective system and all legislative changes that are required to create the framework needed for us to protect our communities from the claws of these beasts,” she said.
Charles said, when perpetrators are offered bail they move to a new community, which extends the danger. “That shifting of problem can lead to multiple problems unless there is structured monitoring of the person who is on bail,” she argued.
There has been a renewed call from other quarters for the Sex Offender Registry, which was set up in 2014, to be made accessible to the public.
Head of children's advocacy organisation Hear The Children's Cry, Betty Ann Blaine, said the abduction of the two children illustrated the urgent need for Jamaicans to have access to the registry.
The registry is managed by the Department of Correctional Services, but the names, addresses, and other details about convicted sex offenders are only available to the police, professional counsellors for sex offenders, people managing educational institutions in specified circumstances, prospective employers and employees of perpetrators, and the management of facilities that provide services to the vulnerable.