The Ministry of Education, and in particular Department of Education, wish to clarify statements made in the press today regarding the handling of the case of the alleged sexual molestation of a male student by a teacher at the Eight Mile Rock High School.
The Director of Education is responsible for the organization and administration of the
Department of Education, and is the professional adviser and technical executive officer of the Minister of Education (Section 5 of the Education Act, Chapter 46, Statute Law of The Bahamas). The Director of Education, consequently, does not have any authority to investigate an alleged crime. The Director does not have prosecutorial authority if any alleged crime presents sufficient evidence for the prosecution of the perpetrator; nor is the Director vested with power to imprison a suspected felon. These authorities are vested in the Royal Bahamas Police Force for investigation, the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution and the Magistrate or Judge for consideration of the granting of bail or sentencing upon conviction.
In the event that there is any complaint of a criminal offence by a complainant, which is communicated to the Ministry of Education, the matter is referred by the Director of Education or Permanent Secretary to the police for investigation.
In the matter of the teacher who has been alleged to have committed a crime against a student, when the complaint was first brought to the attention of the Director of Education and the Ministry of Education (as a result of a newspaper article) the teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave and a police investigation was requested. He was transferred to New Providence to serve the leave for administrative convenience. The teacher was subsequently arrested by the Police and taken in for questioning and later released. Since his release by the Police, the teacher has been required by the Ministry of Education to “sign in” at the head office daily.
The teacher has since submitted his letter of resignation effective Wednesday, 12th February 2009.