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dimanche 25 juin 2017

An update of Mrs. Marjorie’s case: A Haitian woman raped in Turks and Caicos and threatened with expulsion.—

An update of Mrs. Marjorie’s case: A Haitian woman raped in Turks and Caicos and threatened with expulsion. By Cyrus Sibert – @Reseaucitadelle

In recent days, @Reseaucitadelle raised the case of an egregious rape case of Haitian national by a Turks and Caicos Judge, Sir Arthur Forbes. The information has been verified by the local press. The territory’s ministry of justice requested that journalists relaying the information establish a difference between a judge and a high ranking personnel of the Labour Court – the equivalent of the chief executive or managing director of the Office of Labour of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Haiti.

The Island Royal Police Force issued a statement on its Facebook page requesting secrecy of the inquiry into what it calls "allegation of a serious sexual offense" on the ground that no one has been charged yet with any offense."

Nevertheless, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Trevor Botting, has confirmed that a man was arrested, and subsequently released on bail. He highlighted the need to preserve the secrecy of the case and prevent speculations, which can affect the investigation.

It should be noted that police officials have not denied the information that police officers, initially handling the investigation, were transferred and sidelined in order to derail the investigation or at least trample with its results.

Meantime, the victim is facing enormous pressures. Oddly, her spouse appears to have been instructed to no longer support her economically. In the TC Island, it is quite easy for people to know one another. As a result, it is customary to use a middleman to make a phone call to exert pressure on an immigrant using the threat of expulsion. Family members and personal relationships can be used to cover unlawful activities as acquaintances are afraid of the news breaking to major media outlets for fear of reprisals or jeopardizing their immigration status.

In addition, the victim has not received any psychological support or humanitarian aid, as required by the protocol in a democratic society with respect for human rights. She only relies on telling her story to members of the Haitian community, who are more concerned about their legal status than lending a helping hand a rape victim.

Although it is necessary to maintain the "secrecy of the investigation," it is also important to guarantee the public right to information on this high stake case. Since March 17, 2017, Mrs. Marjorie pressed charges against Mr. Arthur Forbes, and waited silently as she has faith in the Island’s institutions. However, without media outcry, it seems that there’d have been core up while waiting her out.

The local press has reported that the alleged rapist is a very influential man – a ranking member of the TCI professional group. He holds a powerful position in the Island’s government. @Reseaucitadelle will continue to monitor the case’s progression and will keep the public up to date.

It is customary that when someone is accused of rape and charges pressed, the perpetrators employ hardball tactics to break their accusers who are devoid to resources to fight in court. Powerful lawbreakers always seek to weaken the case, destroy the evidence, and use deceptive methods to force their accusers to abandon their rights. In this case, Mrs. Marjorie disposes at one text message from the alleged rapist in which, Mr. Arthur Forbes stated that: “No sex, no work permit.”

There is also a tendency to blame the victims of sexual abuse. In this case, Mrs. Marjorie stands for her basic rights and refused to be serially sexually assaulted by Mr. Arthur Forbes.

Not only @Reseaucitadelle is tracking the evolution of this case, it will continue to raise awareness, identify the obstacles and will bring the victim’s claims before international bodies. It is clear that in principle of “secrecy" raised by the authorities of Turks and Caicos could be a maneuver to deny Mrs. Marjorie of her fundamental rights. Looking at the pace of progress of Mrs. Marjorie’s complaint, it appears that there exists strong element of double standard. In the West, the institutions have been designed to bring about justice. A point in case refers to the litigation between Mr. Dominique Strauss Kahn, a powerful IMF chief executive who was accused of rape by a maid in a New York hotel; and justice was served. We encourage the Turks and Caicos Island authorities to follow the footsteps of the American Judiciary, designed after the British judicial system.

PS: It must be stressed that Mr. Forbes is presumed innocent until found guilty.

Cyrus Sibert, Cap-Haitian, Haiti
June 25, 2017
WhatsApp: 509-3686-9669

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