– says Police, medical reports show no evidence of sexual abuse of students by staff members
MINISTER of Culture Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony, has responded to the ‘NOC sex allegations’ which surfaced in the media on April 22nd, in which female students who escaped from the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) in Essequibo are alleging they were molested by male students and staffers attached to the Corps.Dr Anthony has said that any incident that happens at the NOC, be it fight or sex, students should make an official report at the police station, so it can be properly investigated.
He told the media at a press conference on Wednesday that four girls and three boys had escaped from the institution on March 22nd, and some of them have claimed being sexually molested.
“Immediately after a church service, a female student started to use indecent language, (and this) lasted for a couple of minutes. The same student and three female students then ran out the compound. Two female supervisors tried to stop them, but they continued their way. About five minutes after, four male students ran behind the female students into the backdam of NOC,” the minister narrated.
“The police were informed of the incident, and the search for the students has proven to be futile. The next day, three other females escaped into the backlands of NOC.
“If there is any case of wrongdoing, if a child can come forward and say this person has done the wrong — like a staff of the institution — then we want to know that, because we do not want such persons on our staff,” Dr Anthony said.
The eleven students who had escaped were found on March 24th and taken to the Suddie Police Station for further investigation, followed by a medical checkup at the hospital.
“No police or parents were informed of the incident (and) no report or evidence was provided (that pointed) to any form of sexual abuse; and at no time were male students sent to assist in bringing back female students,” Dr. Anthony said.
However, three males are at the police station, while four females are at the Sophia Care Centre waiting on the court’s decision. “They are not angels, they are children with problems; and the allegations may not be true, but could be a reason for their continued deviant behaviour.
“Anyone with evidence could make a report to the police, where it will be investigated,” the minister said.
The ministry is also insisting that parents or guardians who are making allegations of rape should do so at a police station, in keeping with established legal procedures, rather than a news outlet.
A sum will be used from the $2.4 Billion allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s in the 2014 National Budget to construct a fence at the back of the NOC, so that there will be no problems with students escaping, and this will result in better service at the NOC.
(By Asif Hakim)