Aspiring politician, Erica Edwards, of the Democratic National Alliance, has accused Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin of interfering in the investigation into three allegations of sexual harassment by a senior officer on his male subordinates.
Last week, Benjamin, wrote to the senior officer, who is also accused of victimising his colleagues after they turned down his alleged sexual advances. In the letter dated March 29, the attorney general asked the senior policeman to respond to the allegations within five days.
Edwards said the minister’s acted contrary to law as she pointed to the constitution which gives only the Police Service Commission (PSC), the right to remove or exercise disciplinary control over police officers.
Edwards is also pointing to the police’s disciplinary regulations, saying that the PSC should have suspended the senior officer.
“So, I am confused as to why the minister was invited to pen a letter to the officer when based on the law he has no power to do so,” she said.
The Commission has been silent on the matter since it became public nearly four weeks ago.
The body has held two emergency meetings in that time, has been accused of ignoring the matter, has met with the prime minister to discuss the issue, but has not made it known what, if any, action will be taken.
“Why hasn’t the police service commission temporarily relieved this officer in question of his duty in the interest of transparency,” Edwards posited.
She continued, “What is happening is that alleged victims are being subjected to continued interaction with their alleged offender…people may say I am beating a dead horse but I bring this up to highlight the whole issue of sexual harassment in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly within the work place, and the absence of policy and legislation to address this matter,” she lamented on OBSERVER AM today.