By Carlena Knight
The Minister of Social Transformation and Gender Affairs has launched an impassioned plea for law enforcement officers to arrest people who deliberately circulate images and videos of a sexual nature through their mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Citing a video involving two homeless people who were caught in an uncompromising position that made the rounds a few weeks ago, Samantha Marshall made the call in Parliament on Tuesday while debating the Electronic Crimes Amendment Bill 2019.
“Vulnerable homeless people engaged in a sexual act, and it was [video-taped] to circulate all over Antigua and we laugh at it but the truth be told those persons need help. It is time that we stop this and I am appealing to the police, do not let this discourage you to truly carry out an investigation and arrest those who are guilty of the offences. Do not allow this to just sit on a shelf because I will tell you, I will be the first one out there demonstrating because this is what we are trying to do,” Marshall said.
The Parliamentary Representative for St. Mary’s South continued her heated discourse by accusing the public of negatively affecting the future of young girls, as according to Marshall, young people make mistakes from time to time.
“We are killing our young leaders. We are killing their future because when you do that and you circulate that, nobody wants to employ them. When they go to college or go to school they are laughed at. Sometimes their families scrape at the bottom of the barrels to take their children, their daughters out of this society and try to give them a second opportunity away. Sometimes they are lucky to do so; sometimes some of them just can’t do it.
“We cannot expose them — big, grown people
say that we are businessmen and businesswomen, yet we laugh and snicker ‘oh look, look, look’; it’s inappropriate and when we have persons who are arrested for charges of rape, sending messages via phone threatening, trying to convince them to accept money just to drop the charges, all of this is an offence!”
The minister added: “I am very passionate about it because I have seen what it has done to our young women and I have seen how it has destroyed families.”