This week’s news out of New York that Treverson Roberts, a 27-year old Grenadian-born man with U.S citizenship could face up to 30 years jail time in the United States for a sexual assault on a 5-year old boy in the Spice Isle two years ago has once again focused on the light sentences given in our courts for crimes against minors.
The short history of the case is that Roberts pleaded guilty for the crime in a Magistrate’s court in Grenada and was fined a small sum of$1,500 and ordered to pay a mere $600 in compensation to the victim rather than being sent to the Richmond Hill Prison to serve time.
THE NEW TODAY can recall the uproar in the country when the public heard for the first time the “slap on the wrist” that was given to the individual for this barbaric act on the youngster.
There is now renewed murmurings in the society now that Roberts was charged by U.S law enforcement officials with the crime that was committed in Grenada and could be locked away for years behind bars.
The critical differences is the punishment on the law books in both the United States and Grenada for sexual assault crimes against minors.
Our people are quick to point fingers most times to the Judge or Magistrate for giving out light sentences to some criminal elements without delving deeper into the subject matter.
The persons serving in the Judiciary have sentencing guidelines before them for all different categories of crimes committed in the jurisdiction and cannot go beyond the law.
The real culprits are the Members of Parliament elected to sit in the Lower House by the same people who cast their ballots every five years in general elections held in the country.
The MPs are the lawmakers in the country and have total and absolute powers to change the law, make amendments to the law and enforce stiffer penalties on law breakers.
Those politicians are often reluctant to do anything in Parliament that can have a negative impact and effect on their chances at the election.
It is no secret that many of the criminal elements in the society have links to the political directorate and often provide them with thousands of dollars in campaign financing.
And some of these same politicians use their influence with some elements in the police force to provide favours for these criminal elements.
Our lawmakers have advocated the need to pass legislation in Parliament to create a Sex Offenders Registry to name and shame the culprits.
THE NEW TODAY is sure that if these legislators are serious about development the system would have already been put in place to put teeth to the promise.
Another case in point is the haphazard way in which the authorities deal with praedial larceny which is a major problem affecting farmers in the country.
The word “praedial larceny” has been on the lips of every Grenadian in the past 40 years but is yet to be tackled seriously by all our governments since Independence in 1974.
Earlier in the week, a young female farmer in the country called our News Desk to complain about the theft of crops from her holdings by persons that she saw in the land and were well-known to her.
The female farmer called the police and the typical response was to come into the station and make a report for investigative purposes.
Imagine, the culprits were still on the property of the farmer engaged in the act of stealing and the police were making such requests.
Why didn’t the police dispatch officers immediately onto the crime scene and apprehend those engaged in the act of praedial larceny?
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) should not complain of a lack of transport to go to crime scenes because the government gives designated travelling officers duty free concession and in some cases free gasoline to help do their duties.
If the farmer had killed the crop thieves the police would have been out in numbers to not only apprehend but to prosecute the person.
It is long overdue for those in authority to stop talking about efforts to stamp out praedial larceny and to take positive steps to address the problem.
Current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is the lead person among heads of government in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on science and technology and should have been able to come up with something to put a spoke in the wheel of the culprits.
The drone can be used to deter those criminal elements from raiding the crops of our farmers.
THE NEW TODAY is confident that several Grenadians can devise a system with the use of the drone to help protect the lands of farmers even in remote parts of the country.
A government that is serious about the development of agriculture would have created a long time ago a register of all those who have been caught and sentenced by our law courts for praedial larceny.