Has Parker been interdicted from duty?

Dear Editor,

The letter, most of which is reproduced below, was delivered to Permanent Secretary, Mr Emil McGarrell, at the Ministry of Communities on June 12. To date I have not received an acknowledgement of receipt, and my questions are unanswered. It is a shame that our public officials paid by the public purse find it acceptable to ignore the concerns and questions addressed to them.

“Sir,

“I am writing this letter for two reasons. First, to seek clarity about the regulations which determine whether a public officer who has been charged with a criminal offence is interdicted from duty on half salary or sent on administrative leave on full pay, and the time lapse one should expect between charges being laid and administrative action. The specific situation that gives rise to this question is that of the REO, Region 9, Mr Carl Parker, who has been charged with and is currently on trial for sexual assault.

“My second purpose is to express my concern about what I would interpret as an attempt to handle Mr Parker’s situation outside of established practice. The facts of which I am aware, (partly from media reports) are as follows:

“1. Mr Parker was charged on February 10, 2017.

“2. A Stabroek News article on February 11 reported Minister Ronald Bulkan as saying that Carl Parker would be asked to step down until the court proceedings were concluded. The same news item quoted Minister of State Joseph Harmon as confirming Mr Bulkan’s proposed action, as well as reminding the public that the law considers a person innocent until the court determines otherwise.

“3. On February 17, Stabroek News published a letter from Red Thread which indicated that we had information from the community that Mr Parker was still very much on the job, and questioning why he had not been interdicted from duty.

“4. Stabroek News on February 22 cited a GINA report in which Minister Bulkan affirmed that Mr Parker had been off the job for over a week.

“Given all the foregoing, I am puzzled about  a letter dated May 10, 2017 over your signature, reading in part: ‘…approval has been granted for you to [not you are instructed to] proceed on administrative leave with full pay from May 10, 2017…’ The letter also asks Mr Parker to refer to a Ministry of the Presidency letter of May 3, 2017. While it does not say what that letter is about, in the context it is reasonable to conclude that it is related to the same issue, ie, approval for Mr Parker’s leave with full pay. What does the Ministry of the Presidency have to do with this matter?

“Further, you would agree that the date of your letter (May 10), which indicates that ‘approval’ of Mr Parker’s ‘leave’ was only then being communicated, suggests that Mr Parker remained on the job from February 9 when he was charged until May 10 when your letter was issued, and that one would be justified in questioning the truthfulness and intent of the assurances and declarations that were uttered and reported on in the time between those two dates.

“Is this really the way this administration will prove its serious intent to protect women, or more generally, to protect all citizens from abuses of power? …”

Yours faithfully,

Karen de Souza

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