Casanova Permanent Secretary sparks young woman’s resignation
Kaieteur News – January 15, 2006
Just over a year ago, the government closed ranks to protect one of its senior Permanent Secretaries who was accused of making unwanted sexual attacks against some young female staff members.
On that occasion, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon reported that an investigation into the report of unwanted sexual advances was inconclusive.
This comment came although one of the victims proclaimed that she had actually recorded one such advance. The end result was that the Permanent Secretary was transferred out of the Ministry.
At the break of this year, yet another young woman has come forward to report an advance that she considered improper. Up until recently, the woman was employed in the region as an engineer. She has since quit.
In a statement issued on January 3, last, and taken by a prominent doctor on West Demerara, the woman detailed a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, having been informed by her Regional Chairman that the Permanent Secretary needed to meet with her at his office in Georgetown.
She stated that at the outset, the Permanent Secretary told her that she needed to be more consistent and loyal in performing her duties, a statement that she claimed she did not understand and was forced to seek clarification.
“I was told that I needed to stop telling officers and administrators that I intended to leave the job. He went on to say that I would not be leaving the job since it was not an option I have.
“I then enquired why I have to stay and was told that upon leaving, he would ensure that no government agency considers employing me.”
She said that the Permanent Secretary told her that the region was very important politically. “According to him it’s the region that wins the elections for the PPP.”
She said that as the meeting progressed, the Permanent Secretary proceeded “to tell me that he has come to the understanding that there were administrators above me that he suspects are engaged in corruption and that he wants a direct line of communication established between myself and him, and that I would have to spy on the various administrators for him.”
The young woman said that the Permanent Secretary proceeded to establish the ground rules of their engagement. “It would involve him calling and meeting me at various locations outside the work place, for instance at restaurants…He then stressed further the importance of meeting outside the work place, as he did not want people to know about our open communication.”
She said that he described the meeting with her as an exception, since “he does not normally have meetings directly with engineers from the regions.”
“He then asked if I have a cell phone, which belonged to me. I replied yes… He collected the number, and then proceeded to store it in his address/telephone book under the nickname ‘Namaste’, stating that that’s what he will call me upon calling.
“I was then told that this relationship between me and him will remain a secret as I am not allowed to inform my parents, brothers, boyfriend or anyone about it.”
The statement detailed the means of contact, the method they would adopt if one or the other could not accept the call.
“I then replied that I think he has the wrong person… that I am only 21, that I am a bit too young for this and can’t see myself doing what he suggested.”
She said that the meeting ended with the Permanent Secretary’s insistence that she work for a year before she considers resigning; that she wait until March before prompting the regional administration to request staff to fill vacant positions.
The woman left the job almost immediately after tendering her resignation.
The Regional Chairman declined to comment on the matter although he reportedly received a copy of the young woman’s statement. It is not clear whether copies of the signed statement have been forwarded to others in the administration.