Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Immigration officer breaks his silence

Published:Monday | December 22, 2014 | 12:00 AMNoelle Nicolls

NASSAU, Bahamas:

A SENIOR immigration officer accused of raping a Jamaican woman has spoken publicly, for the first time, since the incident was carried in the media.

But he has been reserved in his comments.

"The law will take its course," he said.

Asked about the rape allegations, he responded: "I don't know anything about that. I can't comment. Whatever is out there, in time it will be sorted out."

The officer, who was detained last Wednesday, has since been released from police custody pending further investigation.

In the meantime, he has been sent on indefinite administrative leave while the matter is being investigated.

However, according to sources close to the investigation, despite enquiries by the complainant about the status of the investigation, she was not informed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force when the accused was released from police custody.

Following The Gleaner's release of exclusive details surrounding the investigation, The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration issued a statement on Saturday.

"The appropriate steps for disciplinary action have been taken. All necessary steps, including prosecution, suspension and dismissal from the public service, will be applied where warranted," said a ministry spokesperson in the release.

no sanction from ministry

"Once again, the ministry wishes to indicate that it does not condone or sanction in any way, shape or form abuse of any kind by any officer of the department. It will not be tolerated and the strongest measures will be taken where there are violations of the rights of people," the spokesperson further stated.

Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said in a statement that he personally spoke to Jamaica's honorary consul to The Bahamas to convey his "deep regret" at the allegations and assured the consul that the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

Last week, the matter was reported to Jamaica's junior foreign affairs minister, Arnaldo Brown.

In the meantime, Mitchell said he would speak with Brown shortly, noting that a diplomatic note would be sent to Jamaica indicating the Government's position on the matter.

The immigration officer at the centre of the rape accusation has been in the department for some 35 years.

He sits on high-level government committees that deal with victims' rights and is well-known for his participation in seminars and training sessions that deal with victims' rights.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force has not issued any official statement on the matter.

According to the lead investigator, all of the details surrounding the suspect's arrest and release were provided to the police Public Affairs and Community Relations Department for dissemination to the public at its discretion.

The public affairs department is responsible for releasing daily crime reports to the public.