Recommendations for dismissal with Teaching Service body

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
October 31, 2000

A report with recommendations for the dismissal of the male teacher who allegedly sexually abused six of his male students at a West Demerara school is with the Teaching Service Commission, sources say.

And since the allegations of abuse were made public over a week ago, Stabroek News was reliably informed that reports of physical abuse involving flogging of some children in two education divisions were passed to the Ministry of Education. Those reports are now being investigated at the level of the two Education Departments which are expected to submit reports to the Ministry of Education.

Stabroek News was also told by another source in Region One (Barima/Waini) that sexual abuse of female students was commonplace at some of the far-flung schools but investigations "are not taken seriously". The source, a female teacher from the region, told this newspaper by telephone that it would appear as though some regional functionaries feel that sexual activity among young girls in some of the outlying and riverain areas "is just a cultural norm."

On the issue of the West Demerara male teacher, Secretary to the Teaching Service Commission Conrad Kendall when asked yesterday told Stabroek News that the report is at the TSC but he could not say what action would be taken.

Kendall explained that the commission will have to meet and summon the teacher for a hearing before it makes a decision. On the other hand, he said, the commission may not look at it at all.

Told that the allegations were serious, Kendall said that the commission will address them "very shortly".

The report and recommendations submitted to the TSC by the Chief Education Officer were based on investigations conducted by a team from the Education Ministry headed by acting Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration) Romeo McAdam. The team met with the teacher, students and parents and the administration of the school last Wednesday.

The teacher, who had an acting appointment, was sent on leave a week ago by Regional Education Officer Yoman Singh on instructions from Chief Education Officer Ed Caesar just about two weeks after reports of alleged abuse were made against the teacher by the students. The teacher has denied the allegations of sexual abuse by the students.

A senior education officer yesterday told Stabroek News that prior to the rescinding of certain powers of the Regional Education Officers, the Education Department was vested with the authority to terminate acting appointments under certain conditions.

Stabroek News was reliably informed that the teacher presented his case to the Guyana Teachers' Union claiming that he is a victim of false accusations by the parents and the students.

Since the allegations came to light on October 6, reports were made to the Region Three Education Department and the La Grange Police Station but no action appeared to have been taken. As such the parents contacted Stabroek News which in turn alerted the Chief Education Officer last Thursday.

Since then the police took statements from some of the students, their parents and the accused, who were summoned to the La Grange Police Station over a week ago.

Four of the six boys, who alleged that they were abused, were transferred to a school out of their village at their parents' request.

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