Probe into harassment claims recommends removal of GFF head of referees, assessor

Stanley Lancaster

A ground-breaking probe into claims of sexual harassment made by female football referees has recommended the removal of the Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) Head of Referees, Stanley Lancaster and Referee Assessor Roy MacArthur from their respective posts, well-placed sources say.

According to a source close to the inquiry, “The primary recommendation is the removal of GFF Head of Referees Department Stanley Lancaster and Referee Assessor Roy MacArthur. Many of the testimonies and stories received by the committee did not sound scripted or rehearsed, they felt genuine. The recommendations for their removal is based on the belief and credibility that incidents occurred. Although there was no physical evidence, many of the individuals that testified had different experiences and stories.”

The inquiry, which commenced in March 2018, was commissioned following allegations of sexual harassment by several female referees against senior members of the Referees fraternity.  On February 2nd 2018, 17 male and female referees signed a three-page letter, calling for the removal of Lancaster, citing unprofessionalism and incompetence amongst other issues.

The source further disclosed that more than 16 individuals gave testimony before the probe panel, with the majority being females originating from the Georgetown district. Following the conclusion of the COI, the report was submitted to the GFF on November 19th by Chairman of the committee, Dr. Karen Pilgrim. This was stated in an official release from the GFF on November 23rd.

According to the release, the executive committee of the GFF is scheduled to review the report at their next meeting on December 1st 2018 and take action.

The release further noted, “The Terms of Reference of the COI included: to develop a policy against sexual harassment for referees in Guyana; to evolve a permanent mechanism for the prevention and redress of sexual harassment cases; to ensure the implementation of the policy in letter and spirit through proper reporting of the complaints and their follow-up procedures; to create a secure physical and social environment to deter any act of sexual harassment and to promote a social and psychological environment to raise awareness on sexual harassment in its various forms.” The five-member commission that presided over the COI also included Dr. Melissa Ifill of the University of Guyana, Karen Joseph, Human Resources Consultant, Karen De Souza, Red Thread and Joy Nichola Marcus-Red, also of Red Thread. When Lancaster was contacted by Stabroek News in February this year  about the letter seeking his removal, he said: “I have not received the letter and I can’t comment on it. I know of the letter, but I have never received it”.

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