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Smith discussed suppression of ‘sexual harassment’ in controversial settlement; Dumas slams AG’s defence of NDO

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith could face scrutiny over his role in what was effectively a sexual harassment case at his ministry. Documents, audio recordings and witness accounts provided to Wired868 point to a clear pattern of inappropriate behaviour by the Diego Martin Central MP.

Smith, ably supported by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, has danced around the issue of a TT$150,000 settlement with former employee Carrie-Ann Moreau for the past week. Moreau was Smith’s personal assistant but left after just six months on the job.

Photo: Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith.

However, despite Smith’s efforts to distance himself from the case, Wired868 has documentation that not only suggests his proximity to the affair but also appeared to confirm that the trade dispute involved sexual misconduct.

On Thursday 26 January, 2017, just one day before the relevant parties were due to meet in the Industrial Court, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs agreed a deal with Moreau, who was paid off with taxpayers’ money by Permanent Secretary Natasha Barrow.

Barrow was first to share the news with the Minister.

Barrow: “Matter with Carrie-Ann Moreau resolved. Settlement in the Amt of 150,000 agreed and cheque collected.”

Smith: “[Thanks emoticon]. confidential signed?”

Barrow: “Yes it’s [sic] was part of the settlement agreement that we both signed.”

Smith: “[Thumbs up emoticon]. and no mention of sexual harassment”

Barrow: “No.”

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) and his then Permanent Secretary Natasha Barrow.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Last weekend, Smith feigned ignorance of the affair when Newsday asked him for a comment.

“While Ms Moreau was at one point in time my assistant, I was not a party to any trade dispute at the Industrial Court nor any settlement agreement,” said Smith. “This would be easily confirmed by any official documents you may have in your possession.

“I therefore am unable to provide any comment with respect to matters where I was clearly not a party.”

Smith, almost certainly, was referring to the fact that the case was brought against Moreau’s employers, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO).

Young and Al-Rawi kept the same line and length when Opposition MPs questioned them in Parliament today, as they repeatedly pointed out that the Ministry and CPO were the targets of Moreau’s claim.

At one point, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath asked what should have been a straightforward question: “Can the Honourable Attorney General indicate that the substantive Minister of Sport is in no way named in this matter?”

The Attorney General’s response was, not to put too fine a point on it, vague and long-winded and it contained curious logic.

Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

“Having explained to my learned friend what a release and discharge is, it is imperative to perhaps go a bit further,” Al-Rawi replied. “ A release and discharge which is accepted in the circumstances in which it is accepted, under the supervision of the court. Where there is no admission of liability, where the matter is brought against the Chief Personnel Officer concerning a procedure of termination being the subject of the release and discharge and confidentiality.

“We can go no further than that. Any attempt to scandalise the matter by introducing terminology of the type by which my learned friend seeks to do now is nothing more than scandal.”

Padarath was ‘scandalising’ the issue by asking whether the Sport Minister was named in a trade dispute involving his personal assistant?

Wired868 asked Al-Rawi follow-up questions: “Can you tell me if Moreau’s claim contained any allegations of sexual harassment and/or inappropriate conduct by Sport Minister Darryl Smith towards her? And could you tell me on whose advice was it that Moreau was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement?”

Al-Rawi did not play a shot.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) poses with his then communications officer Kate Balthazar.

“Regrettably, I can’t assist further for the very reasons put on the Parliament floor today,” said the Attorney General.

“Could you at least tell me what is the reason that you are [also choosing] not to disclose information on this matter?” asked Wired868.

“Regrettably, I can’t,” said Al-Rawi, “for the same reasons detailed on the Parliament floor between Min Young and me over the several questions.”

Al-Rawi and Young both defended the Government’s decision to insert a non-disclosure agreement into its settlement with Moreau.

“Any lawyer who has practised in the area of litigation would know that when you are settling a matter,” Young told Parliament, “there are two documents that you always try to have executed: a release and discharge and a non-disclosure agreement.”

“There is,” said Al-Rawi, “absolutely nothing that is untoward [about a non-disclosure agreement] in those circumstances.”

However, Reginald Dumas, the former Head of the Public Service, scoffed at the suggestion that non-disclosure agreements were standard in government settlements.

Photo: Former head of the Public Service and Ambassador to Washington, Reginald Dumas.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

“It is not normal at all,” Dumas told Wired868. “In fact, I have never heard of it. And I checked with a couple of retired senior public servants to find out if, in their experiences, they had ever heard of it. And they all said they had not.

“[…] I am not saying it is illegal I am just saying I have never heard of this before.”

Legal or not, though, Dumas insisted that it was unethical for the Government to withhold information as to how and why its money was being spent. And, worse, he said the possibility that citizens—already facing austere economic times—were footing the bill for the sexual misconduct of Government officials is morally reprehensible.

“If this person brought an action because of the behaviour of a high-ranking government member,” said Dumas, “why should the government have to pay for that? Why should the taxpayer of Trinidad and Tobago have to pay for that?

“I would be concerned if that became normal; in fact, I am concerned now. Once this starts it will continue.

“You are saying the country is out of money and you’re against sexual harassment and so on and you have senior people [allegedly] sexually harassing workers and taxpayers are paying to settle the matter? That cannot be right.”

Dumas, who successfully challenged the Police Service Commission (PSC) last year for clarification over two picks by former president Anthony Carmona, said he sees trouble ahead if Government continues to treat taxpayers in this way.

Photo: Prime Minister Keith Rowley (centre) greets SPORTT chairman Dinanath Ramnarine (left) while Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) looks on during the opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba on 12 May, 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“When you have a non-disclosure agreement to hide something that is wrong, all you do is intensify the problem,” said Dumas. “You do the wrong thing by having the taxpayer pay and then you say the taxpayer shouldn’t know—and at a time when you are talking about transparency?

“If that becomes standard practice, we are in trouble.”

 

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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205 comments

  1. I would really like to know if she get paid already.i have judgments one more than three years old ,this govt hasn’t yet paid

  2. He’s a shithole and should be fired but then again it’s the KR administration.

  3. Wasn’t there a UNC prime minister elected while there were sexual assault changes in the court.

  4. KARMA WILL PICK UP WITH ALL OF THEM ONLY TIME WILL TELL

  5. My understanding tell meh ah could be wrong, ain’t this matter was dealt with in the industrial court, so this mean that is was a labour issue, so what ah kinda understanding is that the dismissal was not to procedure and the court dealt with that aspect and that is what the settlement was for the wrongful dismissal, tell me am I wrong?

  6. Lasana Liburd, Miss cash deposit say allyuh have an agenda, why yuh so eh? It’s a non-story according to her http://newsday.co.tt/2018/04/03/its-a-non-story/

  7. Yeah Lasana talk bout Jawala?or when Brian my friend held d tea party with d lady and d Guardian took pixs

  8. I’m sure “Claire Munroe” would be all in favor of ventilating this issue in public, and shaming the devil, so to speak.

  9. Nigel S. Scott in this instance the NDA protects – or more appropriately, shields – the identity of the person with whom the aggrieved employee had issues. Hides that person in a barrel, so to speak.
    ??????

  10. “On this last score, it is hard to accept that the request for non-disclosure would come from an employee who was willing to have her case heard by the Industrial Court.”

    A point I made, albeit in a related yet different context.

  11. Open your eyes. Paying to cover up wrongdoing with taxpayer’s money is taking food from children mouths, and starving their future. Barrow should pay from her own purse

  12. Signed and filed! Can’t violate the law (now)

  13. So this thing is getting ‘mainstream’ traction from the ‘respectable daily press’.

    Damn, Darryl! Groping around with the wandering hands!

  14. do you have the recordings of this event

    this must not be allowed to go without the proper action including the calling on the PM to give his knowledge of this issue being the BOSS

  15. In two more years …people..do like those..in bago..dont protest…juz talk.about de shit..but wait..in there last year…we will see Dr Eric’s.. style …of ..rubbing it in yur face….money ..like ..water..projects for de boys & girls….yes ..he said it ..THE PEOPLE..OF ..TRINIDAD..& …TOBAGO.. ARE —– STUPID.
    AND…yes they will…beat us in the west….& they..will beat us in the south..& North..to..ask yur self why…?

  16. PEOPLE in the under world & prison , the one crime that’s unforgivable is sexual. misconduct / harassmen / rape. Yet it’s permissible in our parliament what ah shame.

  17. My main question to him, the PS and the PM is “Why was a payment of $150,000 made to an employee who accused him of sexual harassment?”

  18. Who is the high ranking official? A former youth footballer? A Cabinet Minister? A former Local Government official?

  19. PNM again, what you expect …………………………..

  20. Smith just resign please. God enough is enough.

  21. As per usual, all of these negative comments are coming from people who have not read the story, and who clearly don’t fully understand the Law in this case and in this country. And to crown it all, paying attention to Senile Reginald DUMBASS. A DUMBASS who should be put out to pasture, along with the other retired Snr Public Servants he’s quoting. DumbASS, is admitting that the industrial court ruling “might not be illegal, but he has never heard of it “. This goes to show how long ago he worked in the Public Service.
    This is an Industrial Court legitimate agreement between the employee, the CPO, and the Ministry of Sport. A release and discharge and non-disclosure AGREEMENT concerning a procedure of termination. It seems like people have to read and spell fuh some ah allyuh. Go and ask allyuh two 2×4 Senior Cuntsel tuh explain fuh allyuh. The minister was not even a party in the matter. All ah allyuh like DoomASS,only full ah shit.