Rowley stands by Darryl Smith …”VICTIM WAS A COP’S DAUGHTER”

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With all the drama and the non-disclosure agreement, who was the victim of  sexual harassment at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs?

Neither party to this agreement is talking out, but very soon, a Freedom of Information request will be made and Government will have no choice but to disclose the contents of this agreement especially since $150,000 of taxpayers’ money was involved in the settlement.

The woman in question was hired shortly after Darryl Smith was appointed Minister of Sport. He is also the MP for Diego Martin Central. She is the daughter of a retired police officer, and a mother of one.

But her employment as a personal assistant ended after she resisted sexual moves from an official of the Ministry of Sport. When she complained, she was fired on the ground that her work performance was bad.

She hired a trade union which took up the matter. But the day before an open court hearing at the Industrial Court, the matter was settled and the young woman was paid $150,000 for wrongful dismissal, although she had asked for $234,000.

She has since obtained employment, but the scars remained as she has known the official for years.

Now Prime Minister, at the post-cabinet press conference on Thursday, is standing by Smith.

Rowley said he has confidence in Smith to do his job. In fact, Rowley said there was no minister in the government he did not have confidence in.

He added, “If I do not have confidence in an individual whom I had given a portfolio to, I will withdraw that portfolio.”

The matter was raised in Parliament by Opposition MP Barry Padarath recently. It was during Padarath’s question to the Sport Minister, who was absent from the Chamber last Wednesday, that Rowley claimed to have heard of the matter for the first time.

He said he would also like to know the facts. Padarath’s questions were answered by Stuart Young, Minister in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

Hear Rowley on Thursday, “I am trying to find out what went on there. I first heard about it in the Parliament described in legal terms as a legal action that took place in a court of law in Trinidad and Tobago, so I will not want to pronounce on it without knowing exactly what the details were.

”I am not one of those who starts off by saying I don’t know, but I can then continue a conversation as if I know.”

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DR KEITH ROWLEY

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