Talks about increasing the age of sexual consent from 16 to 18 years have emerged in government with a view to reducing crimes committed by juveniles.
The Government of St. Lucia is looking at the social issues impacting the country and its young population in an effort at resolving them in the hope that this may trigger a reduction in the spate of criminal activities in the country, which primarily involves the younger population.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has repeatedly spoken of the breakdown in the social fabric of the country evident by the numerous crimes, some of them heinous, and the need to deal with these issues if the country intends to resolve the crime situation.
Now Home Affairs and National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis has joined the band wagon stating that as a result of government’s approach to tackling crime from a social standpoint there will be a soft type of policing as well as a strong type.
He did not make clear what he meant by “soft” policing however he spoke of the legislation that deals with the age of sexual consent as part of the change he feels is needed to deal with some of the special issues plaguing the country.
Noting that criminals are getting younger in age which speaks of a breakdown in their family structures Francis announced that he has been holding discussions with the Attorney General on revisiting the legislation dealing with the age of sexual consent with a view to increasing it from 16 to 18 years.
“I know it is not going to be an easy thing. You’re going to have lawyers…and everybody going to fight that. If we as a people are serious about fighting crime in a holistic way I think we can get the support,” Francis said.
Francis is of the view that 16 year olds are not mature enough to be mothering children. He believes that many young criminals come out of such homes, therefore by increasing the age of sexual consent this may result in more mature parents which in turn would result in fewer juveniles.
“We still believe that too many children are having children and that is where the problem is. The people who are involved in crime are very young and that means that the family has broken down,” Francis said.
During a press briefing yesterday Francis disclosed that the Police Commissioner, Severing Moncherry and his team will be devising a formula that will seek to provide the type of policing needed for some areas.
With respect to the constant shooting incidents in the country he said it is up to government to put in plans and policies to address this.