(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 04 May 2011)
There is a new idea being proposed that could have a significant impact
in the struggle against domestic violence. According to an April 17
article entitled, “NY Legislators Propose Domestic Violence Registry” on
CBSNewYork.com, “Three New York legislators want the state to register
domestic violence offenders just as sex crime offenders are publicly
One of the legislators, State Senator Eric Adams explained: “We would
duplicate the same process and the same type of software, so we already
have the wheel invented – we’re just adding a new spoke on the wheel.”
I do not believe Guyana has a way to track sex offenders yet, much less
domestic violence offenders, but perhaps it is time to find a way to do
both. For example, when I moved to the San Antonio, Texas area five
years ago, I was able to type in my zip code on a registry Website for
the area I live and find out if any sex offenders lived nearby.
Since I had a young daughter, this was vital information for me. Anyone
who has been convicted of a sex crime must register with the local
authorities. If the sex offender moves to another location, registration
is required again in the new location. They must provide their address
to the authorities and this information is made public for the
protection of the community.
This is a great way to keep track of those who prey on others and the
same concept is being introduced to track domestic violence offenders,
which means if a person were convicted of domestic violence, that person
would be required to register with the authorities.
The information would then be made public and potential partners could
check the registry to see if the person they are dating has a record of
domestic violence, which could save many women from abuse and sometimes
even save them from death.
In the US, each state has its own sex offender registry that is made
available online. In Guyana, it would make more sense to have one
registry that tracks both sex offenders and domestic violence offenders,
which would gather the information from around the country, including
the location of the offender, and make that information available on the
With the names (and aliases) of offenders being made public, an
undertaking such as this could literally save the lives of so many
I do not know what kind of return the government has seen on the $15
million it invested into “Domestic Violence 101,” a domestic violence
training programme structured primarily for faith-based leaders.
Likewise, I am not sure how much the Men’s Affairs Bureau is suiting
their intended goal.
However, I do know that any money invested into a program to track sex
offenders and domestic violence offenders would see an immediate return.
The sex offender registry is a proven method of deterrence and
community education. The concept of tracking offenders of domestic
violence in the same way is brilliant.
This notion is new in the U.S. and that means Guyana has the opportunity
to be on the forefront of this revolutionary concept. Let’s face it;
the domestic violence situation in the nation is chilling. The number of
women who are terrorised, brutalised and murdered by their partners is
simply intolerable, which means it may take some innovative thinking to
make some measurable headway on this problem.
I have met with the Minister of Human Services and Social Security,
Priya Manickchand, and I know she has the capacity to introduce a
project like this, tweak it so that it is compatible with Guyana’s needs
and capabilities, and see that it is the first real program of its type
on a national level (if there is another country with this registry, I
could not find it).
A national registry to track domestic violence offenders would put a
spotlight on this horrid crime, which is usually committed behind closed
doors. It would make what has long been considered a private matter a
very public issue. In other words, those who beat their wives and
girlfriends could no longer hide from what they have done.