‘I deny any allegation of wrongdoing’ –Youth Director
Three months after being sent on administrative leave, pending investigations into her conduct, Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael has denied allegations of wrongdoing on her part.
In a statement issued to the media on Sunday, Carmichael wrote: “I committed no wrongdoing and therefore deny any allegation against me,” in response to a statement issued by the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport on August 2.
According to the Department, the Youth Director was sent on administrative leave following a directive issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC), through which she was hired. The decision to send her on leave, the Department said, is a “legitimate step in an ongoing investigation”.
“As part of the process, the Commission instructed that Permanent Secretary, Melissa Tucker engage the Guyana Police Force in an attempt to bring resolve to the matter” the Department’s statement read.
The Department also explained that this directive was the result of a months-long engagement between that entity and the PSC, during which Carmichael was afforded “due process to the fullest extent” of the public service rules and regulations.
“Detailed correspondence, as well as other evidence, provided led to the Commission’s recommendations” the statement added.
However, in denying the accusations made against her, the Youth Director also described as “utterly false and misleading” the statement which suggested that she was afforded due process.
Carmichael revealed that those allegations were never brought to her attention by any of the involved parties.
“No one from the Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth & Sport, Ministry of the Presidency, or the PSC has ever discussed any allegation of wrongdoing with me. I was never spoken to, or written to, about any allegation of wrongdoing whatsoever. I was never afforded a hearing to discuss or defend myself against any allegation of wrongdoing” she said on Sunday.
The Youth Director shared that all she has been in receipt of is a correspondence from the PSC dated April 26, 2019, directing her to proceed on administrative leave.
“I was not provided with any evidence that led to this action. To date, I do not know the reason for this directive” she added.
Meanwhile, overseas-based government supporter and President of the Caribbean Guyana Democracy Institute (CGDI), Rickford Burke has jumped to the rescue of Carmichael, taking aim at both Tucker, and Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton.
Burke, while accusing the APNU+AFC coalition government of “victimizing and mistreating” Carmichael, wrote the President, calling for the resignation of Minister Norton.
The issue allegedly stems from financial irregularities and malpractice in 2017, when the Department of Youth partnered with a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Community Family Youth Resilience Program (CFYRP), to host a series of youth camps.