Gender Affairs minister says he welcomes recommendation on rape charges

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Minister of Social Transformation Dean Jonas
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The offence of child and marital rape have made major headlines this week, after the sentencing of a man who raped his minor daughter and talks in the Caribbean about criminalizing marital rape.

Questions now lay at the foot of the government about the way forward for Antigua and Barbuda on these matters.

According to social transformation minister, Dean Jonas it is something that can be taken into consideration.

He says while the government has no authority over the judiciary, it can discuss mandating sentences for certain sexual crimes against minors.

“That is something we will have to debate but we will have to have consultations. This is not really just a decision that Cabinet or the parliament can make just like that without consultations and so, it’s certainly something we can put on the table and begin the process”.

His statement was in response to a question about whether Cabinet had considered reviewing an 18-year sentence given to a man who repeatedly raped his 11-year-old daughter.

Many in the public are unsatisfied with the leniency of the sentence, given the magnitude of the circumstance.

Others feel that the man’s ex-girlfriend who knew about the incident, but did not report it, should also be charged.

The 40 something year old man was sentenced to three counts unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor to run concurrently.

On the other end of the spectrum, as the minister responsible Jonas says he welcomes any recommendation to address marital rape.

He said he would have to await recommendations to come from the department from Gender Affairs and then take those recommendations to Cabinet.

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