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Minister mum on sexual claims against govt official
National Diversity and Social Integration Minister Rodger Samuel has confirmed that a young man, allegedly at the centre of improper sexual claims involving a government official, came to confide in him last week Tuesday. Samuel spoke to T&T Guardian on the issue yesterday following reports that the man had spoken out about the allegations concerning the government official. The man has made several allegations concerning sexual harassment complaints and reportedly also had spoken to police.
Samuel said: “I can’t go into details as it’s a legal matter. The only thing I can say is that the young man did come to see me in my capacity as a pastor since last week Tuesday. “He requested that I speak to him in that capacity but it is confidential.” Samuel, a pastor for 20 years, said he prayed with the young man as he normally would with anyone who came to him. Asked if he knew the man, Samuel said he did not. He said the man was not a member of his congregation from Arima.
He added: “I am not sure how he managed to come to see me but a lot of people do. “But I cannot reveal what we spoke about. Also, as a minister of gospel, it’s important for one to hear both sides of the story, obviously.” Asked if he had communicated the situation to the Prime Minister, Samuel said he could not comment. Samuel said he had not been interviewed by any law enforcement agency.
“I am not sure if that will ever happen but I respect the situation so I cannot comment on anything pertaining to it,” Meanwhile, yesterday Communication Minister Vasant Bharath said he had no idea which government minister, if any, might be involved in a sexual harassment complaint. Bharath was responding to questions following a newspaper report yesterday on the alleged complaint.
The person claimed situations occurred last year and in January allegedly at the home of the official which the person had gone to. The man in question is reported to have spoken to police and was scheduled to give a statement last Wednesday. Bharath said: “If it is a police matter, it’s in the police’s hands to determine whether there is any validity to this allegation.”
Meanwhile, Tobago Development Minister Delmon Baker who has said he had reported an extortion attempt to the police in Trinidad last Monday, did not answer calls on the issue. His attorney Christlyn Moore said she and another attorney were acting for Baker in a matter in which he “was the victim of attempted extortion. I can’t comment on anything else.”
Baker’s adviser Stanley Beard who last week alleged there was an extortion move afoot against Baker had alluded to a person who had worked in the Tobago Organisation for the People office. Yesterday Beard declined comment on the issue saying: “Let the court deal with this.”