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Rape Allegation Is Investigated - Senior Officer At Immigration Put On Leave

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the “chips will fall where they may” as an investigation continues into claims from a Jamaican woman who alleged that she was raped by a senior Immigration officer.

The officer was placed on administrative leave on Saturday. It followed his arrest by police, who took him into custody for questioning last Wednesday, confirmed Department of Immigration Director William Pratt. He has since been released from custody, according to an article published in The Gleaner, the Jamaican national daily newspaper.

The matter was not included in any of the daily crime reports that were issued by the Royal Bahamas Police Force last week.

This comes as Mr Mitchell further revealed that a separate investigation was underway into a complaint by another detainee who alleged that money, which was checked in upon his arrival at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, was missing as he was released.

Mr Mitchell said if the money was not found a police investigation would be launched.

During a press conference at the Department of Immigration, the minister insisted that he did not support any malfeasance from staff of the department.

“The public needs to know that,” he said, “the chips will fall where they may. The government and the Prime Minister will not countenance the undermining of the integrity of the Immigration Department and stands by measures necessary to ensure its integrity is not compromised.

“It is important for officers of the department to understand what we have been saying that this is a new era of increased scrutiny, transparency and public accountability. Those who cannot adhere to those standards are not welcome in the Department.” 

Later, while responding to questions from The Tribune, Mr Mitchell said he was making a public statement because the allegations went public. He added that he was doubtful these latest allegations would have any long-term impact.

“I am sure that over the coming days you will see a lot of sentiments being expressed in the public domain. But I think most of the rational people will understand that in any system you will find individual examples of malfeasance or misbehaviour.

“I am confident that should the allegations prove to be correct that it’s not systemic in anyway and it is certainly not sanctioned by the government.”

On Saturday, the Department of Immigration released a statement informing the public that the immigration officer had been placed on leave with immediate effect pending the outcome of the sexual assault allegations.

Asked why the officer had been placed on leave at this point when no wrong doing had been proved, Mr Mitchell said the action was standard procedure in such instances. 

“The matter is also before the police,” the statement read. “The appropriate steps for disciplinary action have been taken. All necessary steps, including prosecution, suspension and dismissal from the public service will be applied where warranted. 

“Once again, the Ministry wishes to indicate that it does not condone or sanction – in any way, shape or form – abuse of any kind by any officer of the department. It will not be tolerated and the strongest measures will be taken where there are violations of the rights of people.”

It added: “The minister for immigration has spoken to the Honorary Consul  of Jamaica to the Bahamas to convey his deep regret at these allegations and assured the Consul that the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

“A diplomatic note to this effect will be sent to the Jamaican Foreign Minister and the minister will speak to his counterpart in Jamaica shortly.”

Mr Mitchell told reporters that he could not say when the investigations would be complete. He said all that could be done was to expedite the matter and ensure the probe was handled thoroughly and carefully. 

According to The Gleaner, the woman who is from Ocho Rios, St Ann, alleged that she was abducted and raped by the officer after she was caught up in the police arrest of 11 women on suspicion of prostitution at a local bar on December 13. The alleged rape victim, who claimed to be a bartender at the establishment, was one of them. 

She told The Gleaner that despite producing a copy of her spousal permit to prove legal status, she was still taken onto the bus that took her to a downtown Nassau police station. 

“Everyone was afraid,” she told the Jamaican daily, “I thought I was safe since I have my papers. When we went in the bus, I said, ‘I have residency papers. I have a spousal permit’.”

After being detained at the Central Police Station, The Gleaner said, and then the Detention Centre the woman claimed being released into the custody of the immigration officer last Monday.

She alleged that the officer signed her out of the Detention Centre, telling her that he was taking her to the Immigration Department.

However, she claimed that the officer later took her to his home where she was repeatedly forced to have sex with him.

He allowed her to leave his home last Tuesday morning, she alleged. Later that day, she filed a report with the police.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 10 months ago

But I think most of the rational people will understand that in any system you will find individual examples of malfeasance or misbehaviour

The problem Minister Mitchell is the Bahamas has too many system failures, corruption is rampant, if you are honest you are looked at as "fool" because you e'ehn gettin yours Worse yet, this attitude exists among your colleagues and noone ever hears of it, its swept under the rug because no newspaper hears word of it. This is WRONG. Hundreds of thousands found in the closet, Bribes at Ministry of Housing, 100,000 cash payment at BEC, 50 million at BAMSI on what? BOB PEP loans, PHA 40 million GONE, City Market and Clico who was watching while the money was squirreled away? Renward Wells LOI affair who told him to sign? Kohlrautz will. all of these matters deserve an INDEPENDENT commission of inquiry because government obviously is incapable of policing itself

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Tommy77 4 years, 10 months ago

Very well said. http://s04.flagcounter.com/mini/kfoW/..." style="display:none" />

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duppyVAT 4 years, 10 months ago

Its all over Jamaican media ...................we don't need any backlash with our students down there

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Andrewharris 4 years, 10 months ago

Is that your only concern? A woman is claiming she was detained by our government and raped.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 10 months ago

Its an allegation, bro. This could all be a sham job by the Yardie gal

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 10 months ago

"Yardie gal"? You're waving a red flag in front of a bull (on purpose I suspect:)). Anyway, let's suppose she gave her consent for some transaction and then cried foul for whatever reason. That officer should still be fired, I don't even need to see the policy book to know he broke protocol. And a serious breech too. If nothing happened and she made up a story, it still seems extremely weird for a single woman to be released to a male officer. Both he and the person who signed her out need to go.

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jamaicaproud 4 years, 10 months ago

Problem is that under international law, regardless of a persons, alleged reputation, or supposed consent. People in custody cannot consent to sexual relations with jailers/captors as it is considered to be done under duress or Quid qui pro.

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jamaicaproud 4 years, 10 months ago

Contrary to popular belief, we Jamaicans are not barbarians. We treat visitors with respect and can separate the issues. That being said O ye land of prosperity, shouldn't it be we going to your Colleges and Universities?? Just asking.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 10 months ago

Our government supported UWI financially too, it's a wonderful institution. Barbados is beautiful, Jamaica is beautiful and Trinidad is beautiful. Every island has its good and bad (this includes the Bahamas and all the Caribbean), they're only perfect in the commercials.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 10 months ago

It is important for officers of the department to understand what we have been saying that this is a new era of increased scrutiny, transparency and public accountability. Those who cannot adhere to those standards are not welcome in the Department.” Now if he can get perry and the boys to understand this we will have a better country.

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Andrewharris 4 years, 10 months ago

The amount of bad press this country has recieved because of Immigration and their policies is amazing. This will soon back fire. Time for some corrective measures and damage control.

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SP 4 years, 10 months ago

.. FBI Exposes PLP And FNM Use Of "Consultants" To Facilitate Bribery And Corruption ..

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/the-...">http://www.topix.com/forum/world/the-...

This is the main reason our country is in a mess............. PIRATES AT THE HELM !

.............. Mr. Greenslade..........Do your job and send these BASTARDS TO JAIL ..........

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