I refer to an article captioned, ‘Carl Parker the alleged sexual offender must be judged’ (GT, Sept 3), in which several misleading and inaccurate statements were made. Unfortunately, I am therefore forced to use time to correct those inaccuracies. Of course, the weak tactic of placing lies in the public domain and waging campaigns of innuendo without evidence is one at which the opposition is adept.
The term “victim” was used throughout the article in reference to the virtual complainant. Evidently, the writer has already judged and convicted Mr Parker even though legal proceedings are still ongoing.
Editor, the facts are as follows: after a written allegation of sexual misconduct was made against Mr Parker by a District Education Officer (DEO) in 2015, I advised Mr Parker to show the letter to the police so that the DEO may be invited to give a statement. This was done and she declined the invitation by the police to make a report, opting instead to go to the media and launch a letter writing campaign to regional officials. There was never any attempt by the administration or even the thought of covering up anything. Incidentally, the DEO’s name appeared on the PPP’s list of candidates in the last general election.
There followed in April 2016, a letter addressed to His Excellency President Granger accompanied by a “petition” requesting Mr. Parker’s removal. The letter contained numerous allegations against Mr Parker including the assertion that Mr. Parker engages in acts of political and ethnic discrimination in the award of contracts, in favour of the ruling administration’s supporters. That is ironic as I have been bombarded by complaints that of contracts awarded most were given to known PPP allies.
As was mentioned in the article, the letter also said that 1,200 persons had signed the petition. Upon checking, there were, in fact, fewer than 550 signatures. A more thorough investigation revealed that the person who signed the letter could not be located and may actually not exist, that the vast majority of “signatures” were written by the same hand, and that the few genuine signatures were affixed after the resident was misinformed about what he or she was being asked to sign.
Following those two events, there came a third one. On December 30, 2016, a report of sexual misconduct was made to the police against Mr. Parker by the Deputy Mayor of Lethem. Mr. Parker was arrested in February 2017, and appeared before the court on June 6, 2017.
On that date, after the virtual complainant had presented her evidence in chief, she was cross examined by Mr. Parker’s counsel. The following day, when her cross examination was due to be continued, she, at the beginning of proceedings, requested leave of the court to obtain legal counsel. The defendant, Mr Parker had no objection. She was granted leave until September 5, and the court was adjourned.
On September 5, the case was called. Neither Mr Parker’s accuser nor her legal representative appeared. Instead, a medical certificate was tendered by the prosecutor stating that she was ill. Interestingly, many residents have reported seeing Mr Parker’s accuser during that period, travelling among communities and the Capital City, apparently in good health.
Additionally, it was reported that on that date, the court made mention of the article which was published by GT. The court said that it was annoying, malicious, contemptuous and filled with lies.
The matter was called yet again on Friday, September 8, and again, the virtual complainant did not appear, even as she continues her social media campaign against Mr Parker.
The next date set for a hearing is December 7.
Of course, one knows that justice can be delivered only by a court of law, not by social media. Therefore, if one were truly interested in having justice served speedily, one would make every effort to attend court instead of dragging one’s feet and prolonging what would otherwise be a straightforward process. Under the circumstances, given the facts, one may reasonably surmise that Mr. Parker’s accuser is less interested in the service of justice than she may be in prolonging the matter to the unfair detriment of the accused.
Minister of Communities