By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: THURSDAY 07 FEBRUARY 2013: The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) supports the initiative by Justices Vui Clarence Nelson to register all sex offenders but is against castrating the offenders.
The General Secretary of CCCS Rev. Dr. Iutisone Salevao told Talamua that whilst the move by Vui is applauded, he does not agree with the view of the Secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC), Reverend Ma’auga Motu to castrate the offenders.
“That is too extreme,” Dr.Iutisone told Talamua.
Dr. Iutisone said the NCC Secretary should have emphasized that those are his views and not of the individual members of NCC.
“CCCS does not view castration as an appropriate penalty but the Government should come up with a harsher penalty to control those habitual offenders,” said Reverend Iutisone.
The same opinion was shared by members of the Seventh Days Adventist Church (SDA) who believe castrating offenders is turning the clock back to the old laws. They too are in full support of the initiative for a register.
Dr. Iutisone also supports the idea of publicising the sex offenders photos in the media so people are made aware of how these people look.
“There is no point in registering names and people do not know the face of the offender, epscially if they live nextdoor,” said Dr. Iutisone.
The media’s role according to Dr.Iutisone is vital to this issue. However, the media can only do so much. Most incest offenders names and pictures are suppressed by the
Court to protect the victims and Dr.Iutisone believes this will defeat the whole purpose of registering the sex offenders.
Pastor Fa’asalafa Chricton of the Vaitele Fou Assembly of God (AOG) is against both the registration and castration. He said that all sex offenders are already registered the moment they are charged and convicted. His views were not supported by several members of his congregation.
Dr. Iutisone highlighted the promotion of human rights and the lack of a Censor in censoring movies as two of the contributing factors to the rapid rise of sex offences. He said Non Government Organisations (NGO) promoting human rights should be aware of what they are promoting.
“Human rights come with corresponding reponsibilities and duties,” said Dr. Iutisone.
However, NGO’s are only promoting peoples right to do anything but fail to identify the responsibilities and duties that comes with these rights. This must be addressed properly so the people understand what they can and cannot do when exercising their rights.
He also believes that the Ministry responsible for censoring movies brought into the country should review their rules and regulations for movies before allowing them in.
The Ministry must not allow movies with the high rate of violence, foul language and pornography into the country.
“There is too much violence in movies,” said Dr.Iutisone.
The Chief Executive Officer for the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) Pepe Tevaga said SVSG acknowledges Justice Vui’s initiative. SVSG has been instrumental in bringing most of the incest cases that finally come before the courts after many efforts to hide these cases.