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Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says any revisiting of the law relating to penalties for failing to report statutory rape has to be a Cabinet decision. He was responding to questions from the media at an event outside the Attorney General’s Office, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. He said there were two powerful competing interests involved and a balance had to be arrived at.
On one hand, he said, there was the State’s obligation to protect children from statutory rape, according to the law. He said protecting children was of paramount importance. On the other hand, he said, there were the concerns of others who feared criminal reprisals for reporting the crime. Ramlogan’s comment comes in the wake of Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan’s stated intention to discuss a revision of the law with Ramlogan in light of recent cases involving teenage victims.
Medical personnel have raised concerns about the law which states that parents, guardians, doctors, teachers and others must report sexual offences against minors. Failure to do so carries a $15,000 fine and a jail term. Doctors fear the guardians of pregnant children will seek the services of backyard abortionists, putting their lives in danger. Doctors said they also feared for their own lives because they could be threatened by criminals.