Georgetown, Guyana; – With the absence of a Sexual Offenders Registration and Public Protection Act, and a definite lack of any policing by the child protection agency or Guyana’s Ministry of Education, persons who were convicted for sexual offences and known pedophiles are still able to interface with children and vulnerable young women unhindered.
This occurrence is prevalent among several service sectors in Guyana where child and women safety should be enforced, but is more daring within the public transportation sector.
In a more than two month investigation, the Guyana Guardian was able to document at least twelve cases where persons who were charged and convicted, or is on bail for sexual assault and rape against children and women are actually taxiing this same group of vulnerable people daily.
In at least two cases, two men who had served time for rape on two occasions each are actively working as taxi drivers who are tasked with picking up school children and young women daily.
In another case, a man who was arrested for rape and sexual assault on teenagers on at least three different occasions, and whose relatives had compensated the rape victims to avert charges each time, was also observing transporting teen girls via a minibus on a regular basis.
Several other bus drivers and conductors who were fingered in rape and other sexual assault cases are also publicly plying their trade without hindrance.
While local authorities do not see the necessity to enact legislation aimed at preventing sexual predators from working within any child-vulnerable environment; Mary-Ann Myers, a US-based Unicef researcher on the sexual exploitation of children, told the Guyana Guardian that common logic would have told anyone with law enforcement, legislative and judicial powers that persons charged with sexual exploitation of minors ought not to be allowed in certain environments that threatens the safety of children and young women.
She suffice that in the absence of the required legislation, a State can utilize other aspects or avenues of the law to deter sexual predators from working as taxi drivers, school security guards, bus operators, or in any other field where they will have to interface directly with children.
In her view, local law enforcement, the Ministry of Education, and the child protection agency would be lax in their obligations to children and vulnerable women if they cannot develop and enforce a policy aimed at protecting that group from pedophiles and all other categories of sexual offenders.