A bill put before the House legal affairs committee on Monday may allow sex offenders, child molesters and murderers to receive or renew licences allowing them to drive taxis or buses.
The proposal, jointly submitted by Disy, Akel and the Solidarity movement is an amendment to the existing law and will allow, if passed, people who have been sentenced to offences under the criminal code and have served their time and been rehabilitated, to obtain a licence to drive a bus or taxi.
Though the idea is to allow former convicts a second chance, Diko MP Christiana Erotokritou said it was important to protect the public interest and this was a highly sensitive matter particularly as it appears to ignore the interests of minors and adults who fell victim to sexual related offences.
Vehemently opposed to the proposal, she said what was also concerning was that the bill also has a provision which allows people sentenced for serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter and drug trafficking, to be able to obtain the licence.
People who have paid for past mistakes and want to re-enter society should have every right to do so, but this was a matter that affected the well-being of other people and society at large, Erotokritou stipulated.
Chairman of the committee and Disy MP Georgios Georgiou said the existing law violated the protection of fundamental human rights. This is because someone sentenced over certain crimes is forever forbidden the right to obtain this licence.
The point, he specified, is that people who have been rehabilitated have no second chance at life as the criminal record provided by police outlines all of their previous history.
Responding to the concerns brought up during the session, Georgiou outlined the matter would be discussed anew on July 3 but that lawmakers should be concerned with the fact that the current legislation may be sentencing someone for life by barring them from the right to work.
From a legal standpoint, he said, the proposal is a matter of applying the provisions of the constitution. Although the subject of sexual related offences must be looked into, it should not be placed in the same boat as the rest of the offences.