A dark cloud of suspicion looms over the head of former civil servant, Oliver Joseph, the newly installed candidate of the New National Party (NNP) for the St David’s Constituency as contrasting statements surface against him in connection with alleged sexual misconduct involving a former student.
Speculations are rife as the country prepares for the February 19, 2013, General Elections that the main Opposition party may have moved from an accused female abuser to an accused sexual molester.
In 2009, an allegation against the then public officer surfaced when a former student attached to the TA. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) accused Joseph of sexual molestation.
In an interview conducted with the now defunct Grenada Today newspaper in October 2009, Joseph was questioned about the allegations leveled against him.
He confirmed that he was part of a team that traveled to Antigua with TAMCC students to enlighten them on the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
He denied that he had sexually molested the student.
Joseph said then “that he had returned from a party with both lecturers and on his way up to his room in the hotel asked the student who resided on a lower floor to use her bathroom.
He admitted that he later learnt that the student informed her grandmother that he attempted to kiss her but there was no talk of rape.
According to the GRENADA TODAY report: “When asked if he (Joseph) attempted or asked the student for a kiss, the senior civil servant who was seeking to give the impression that he might have been under the influence of alcohol from the night of partying responded: “…I…don’t…I came from a party…can’t recall”.
In the interview that was conducted, Joseph said that he spoke to the student’s grandmother and informed her that “if she (the student) said so then…if I did, I apologise”.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas whose government was only 15 months in office vowed to take action if the allegation could be substantiated.
“A government spokesman told this newspaper that the administration had been aware of the incident but that family members of the girl are reluctant to come forward with the evidence”, the newspaper report said.
In a telephone interview with Joseph last week Wednesday, the new NNP Candidate disclosed that the allegation against him was investigated by an official and presented to the Public Service Commission (PSC) which vindicated him.
He did not disclose the name of the person who did the investigation.
He also said that the young lady in question admitted that the incident as alleged against him “did not happen”.
In an interview with the NNP Public Relations Officer, Terrence Forrester regarding the allegation against Joseph last week Wednesday, the top party official told The New Today that he had listened to an interview with a Meaningful Television (MTV) reporter who asked Joseph about the allegations against him, and the new prospective candidate said there was no truth to the allegations.
“We (NNP) will have to stand by his (Joseph’s) word unless otherwise presented with evidence”, Forrester said, adding that as it stands now the matter is just hearsay.
The NNP propaganda chief says he is personally not aware of the allegations against the new NNP caretaker but cannot say if a committee responsible for appointing caretakers was aware of the accusations against Joseph before he was identified to taker charge of the constituency.