Region Nine will see the return of its former Regional Executive Officer (REO) Carl Parker in the New Year as the Ministry of Communities continues its rotation exercise.
Parker was removed from the position last year after being charged with sexual assault but reinstated by Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan in March of this year, after the case against him was dismissed.
His reinstatement was not welcomed by councillors of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) which was reflected in a letter written to President David Granger which said that while the RDC had no objection to Parker’s reinstatement to the administration, a motion was passed by the council disapproving his continuing as REO.
The letter also cited many concerns about Parker, including issues raised by the Auditor General over overpayment of contractors and incomplete projects. Parker was subsequently appointed to serve as REO for Region Eight where he is currently based.
However, based on a letter dated November 29, 2018, which was signed by Bulkan and seen by this newspaper, Parker is expected to return to Region Nine, effective January 1, 2019.
“In keeping with my previous alert, please be advised that effective 1st January, 2019, your new responsibility will be for the Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo Region,” the letter said.
The letter was copied to Region Eight Chairman Bonaventure Fredericks and Region Nine Chairman Bryan Allicock.
Vice-chairman of Region Nine, Karl Singh, told Stabroek News yesterday that they received official confirmation of Parker’s return on Monday.
As with Parker’s reinstatement earlier this year, Singh said, there are concerns about his re-appointment. However, it is expected that the matter will be addressed today during the RDC’s statutory meeting.
Attempts to contact Parker for a comment on his reappointment were futile.
As reported by this newspaper, Parker had been charged at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on February 9, 2017 with sexual assault and was released on $200,000 bail. The matter was transferred to the Lethem Magistrate’s Court for trial.
However, the case against him was dismissed in March of this year on the grounds that the charge instituted against him was “bad in law.” Police confirmed to Stabroek News that presiding Magistrate Alan Wilson observed that the charge was instituted under the wrong section of the Sexual Offences Act.
Parker’s attorney Jerome Khan had further said that although the trial went on for close to a year, the mistake was only realised after submissions were made by both himself and the prosecution and they were being reviewed by Magistrate Wilson.
“The Magistrate in his decision said he observed that the section under which Parker was charged was not a section that deals with offences but deals with penalties,” Khan told Stabroek News.