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Region 9 REO charged with sexual assault, to be removed

first_imgThe Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), Carl Parker, is expected to be removed from the position after he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday, slapped with a sexual assault charge.Carl ParkerIt is alleged that Parker, 53, of Cenotaph Boulevard, Lethem, Region Nine, had sexually assaulted a young lady on June 13, 2016 at Yupukari, Central Rupununi, during a village outreach he had hosted. The REO pleaded not guilty.He appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman, who read the charge in-camera before granting him bail in the sum of $200,000. Following the arraignment hearing, Parker left the courtroom in smiles as media operatives flocked around to get his photograph. He is expected to return to court on February 16.Speaking with reporters outside the courtroom, Parker’s lawyer, Attorney-at-Law Jerome Khan sought to poke holes in the allegation made against his client, questioning the fact that the incident was only reported in December of 2016 and not when it had reportedly occurred in June.The Defence Attorney also pointed out that following this alleged assault, the Virtual Complainant maintained a friendly relationship with Parker, and even visited his home on many occasions.Khan had told media operatives previously that the accused was a victim and his situation was a “perfect political storm”, intended to remove Parker from his position.He noted that there were rumours circulating that Parker was switching his support from the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Administration to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) after he followed the procurement act and refused to award contracts to APNU/AFC supporters in Region Nine.On the other hand, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan on Thursday confirmed that Parker would be removed from his position as the REO of Region Nine with immediate effect as a result of the charge.At a press conference last Friday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo accused Government of failing to discipline Parker against whom several similar allegations have been made.“This Government has serious problems with professionals, particularly young professionals and particularly women. So in (Region Nine, an education official) complained about the (alleged) predatory behaviour of the (official). And it was swept under the carpet,” Jagdeo had stated.He continued, “Then the (municipal official) complained that she was sexually molested by the same person. It was reported to everyone, including the Minister. The President is aware of it. They try to sweep it under the carpet again.”At least two arms of the PPP have since come out in solidarity with the alleged victim. These groups – the Women’s Progressive Organisation and Progressive Youth Organisation of Region Nine, expressed admiration for the boldness of the Virtual Complainant in coming forward.Meanwhile, the Guyana Empowered Peoples Action Network (GEPAN) had come out condemning this recent attack for which the REO was charged. In a missive last month, GEPAN said it had been solicited to petition on behalf of the Virtual Complainant, as a civil actor.According to GEPAN, the victim suffered the assault while carrying out her official duties.The advocacy group alleged that it was during a work trip, when she was forced to share a room with the suspect, that she was physically assaulted. GEPAN added that the victim has suffered “psychological and emotional abuse and break down” owing to the incident.The group went on to reveal that the official has been forced to compromise her career and her home life has suffered.last_img read more