The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has received a letter from a resident of Kamarang Village expressing concern about the election of a convicted child molester to the position of toshao of the Region Seven (Potaro/Siparuni) village.
Recently elected to head the community was Luther Krammer, a former teacher who was released in 2017 after serving an 18-month sentence for sexual molestation of a nine-year-old girl.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe yesterday told Stabroek News that the matter was yesterday morning brought to the attention of both her and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock via a letter. The ministry will investigate the circumstances leading up to Krammer’s nomination and subsequent election. “We are looking into the matter,” she said.
The Amerindian People’s Association (APA) Executive Director Jean La Rose told Stabroek News that the issue was brought to her attention last Friday. “I am not happy about it,” she said.
She noted that the Amerindian Act, which provides for the eligibility of candidates for toshaos and councillors, stipulates that a person may only stand for election or be elected if they have “not been convicted of a serious criminal offence involving violence or dishonesty.”
According to reports from the community, she said, some persons were aware of his background and objected to his nomination, “But basically they were dismissed by the returning officer,” she added.
The APA, La Rose explained, does not get involved in village elections and it was up the ministry to take action.
However, she said, the APA does not condone child abuse or any forms of violence against children.
“Therefore having someone with a criminal sexual conviction placed in a leadership position and in a position of trust,” she said, “was a matter of concern. There is a reason why people call for a sexual offences register.”
A prison, she said, is not a place of reform and anyone with a conviction should be scrutinised when seeking public office.