We have a screwed-up judicial system in Grenada, which is in dire, urgent need of reform.
The Wednesday, Oct. 16 court decision in the Grenville Court House in Grenada, regarding an admitted-to sex crime committed by an adult male, Treverson Roberts, against a five-year old, must be appealed and amended, if justice is to be served. This decision with a very light penalty, came as yet another in multiple recent cases involving alleged sex crimes against children, which have resulted in dismissals or very light sentences, compared to the much tougher penalties being meted out by the same Margistrate’s Court, for perpetrators found guilty of praedial larceny and burglary.
Roberts was charged with the crime of indecent assault on a minor, which he pleaded guilty of (forcing the five-year old to perform oral sex on him). In fact, he admitted to the crime and asked for forgivenesses via various text messages sent to the child’s mother.
In view of the facts of the case and the obvious miscarriage of justice in this matter, I am calling on the Attoney General and on the Prosecutor General’s Office in Grenada, to immediately take steps to investigate, appeal and amend this outrageous and shamefully unjust decision of a Magistrate in Grenada.
Ironically, according to reports, Trevorson Roberts, a native of Grenada who resides in New York, had travelled to Grenada to be ordained as a minister in a congregation of the Church of God Seventh Day, and while on the island, he forced the five-year old boy, who was briefly left in his care by the mother, to perform the sexual act mentioned above.
Unfortunately, however, the decision delivered on October 16th at the Grenville Court House, simply ordered Roberts to pay EC$1,500 cash to the State and EC$600 to the mother, to cover the cost of six sessions of child welfare counseling. These payments had to be made by October 17th, or else the perpetrator would be subject to one month in jail.
This decision is tentamount to a tap on the wrist, especially when one considers that the Court already knew that Roberts would have been able to cover the pittance amount of EC$1,500 — in view of the evidence shared in the trial about Roberts’ family’s earlier offer to pay EC$10,000 to the mother, if she would cooperate with the defendant and not be a witness for the State. This $10,000 offer of a payment for the silence of the victim’s mother, was allegedly made by the pedophile’s uncle. Thankfully, the mother refused the offer and instead demanded justice; however, justice was miscarried by the Court.
Regarding penalties for sex crimes, especially those committed against children, we need tougher laws that would: i) deter the untoward conduct of might-be perpetrators; and ii) punish and meaningfully rehabilitate convicted perpetrators.
Radical reform is needed with respect to how certain crimes are defined and what penalties are prescribed.
Among other things, sentencing guidelines should be reviewed and certain penalties should be stated as mandatory. Judges/Magistrates should be given less leeway in the issuance of sentences for certain crimes, especially those which result in harms to our children who cannot defend themselves.
The current illogical and inconsiderate discrepancies which we see on a daily basis in the administration of justice in Grenada and in certain other Caribbean states, require URGENT APPROPRIATE CORRECTIVE ACTION on the part of our legislators (political leaders/Government) who create and amend our laws, and on the part of jurists who interpret and apply our laws.
Citizens / residents in Caribbean nations and in the Diaspora, must demand more and expect more. Our activism, our protests and our votes should declare what we believe in and what we stand for. We the people, whether in the USA, throughout the Caribbean, or in Grenada, must truly become the agents of change by publicly stating our demands, desires and needs and following through by only voting for community leaders who have a track record of advocating for the results we demand, desire and need.