The Caribbean Voice is thrilled at the work the Sexual Offences Court has been doing and we laud the expected move to have this court also set up in Berbice and Demerara, as many have been calling for. We are especially pleased that sentences handed down hover around the maximum rather than the minimum and we hope that this would be the permanent standard.
We expect that the court is, or soon will be, informed by the recently launched Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region created by the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project in the Caribbean, an initiative of the Canadian Government, in collaboration with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). And we strongly suggest this court urgently consider adding domestic violence to its portfolio? Also, we urge the Government to set up a similar special court for child abuse. As well, a mobile court is urgently needed for the hinterland, given the problems of distance and transportation. Such a court should combine the roles of the sexual offences and child abuse courts.
Finally, we hope that these courts would consider counselling for victims as part of their mandate.