Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Minister shares contact number online after alleged prank calls

Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy retaliated against alleged prank calls by sharing the contact number of a local entertainer via social media, however, the entertainer claimed he was threatened over the phone and said he reported the incident to the police. 

The incident arose after former minister Devant Maharaj shared a list of Ministers' contact numbers, urging the public to call them to address various issues. 

In a social media post over the weekend, Webster-Roy, who is the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister and MP for Tobago East, said:

"Anyone who prank call me or send me nuisance messages I am posting their number. The first person according to my caller ID was Massive Gosine (number omitted). #dosodon'tlikeso"

She said although she is in public service, she also has rights. 

"So Tom,Dick, Harry and Jenny could defend themselves but a politician supposed to be a floormat and whipping post and take it and say thank you?! When I offered myself up for service to people I did not relinquish my rights."

"I have a right to defend myself if I am being harassed. I have a right to decide who has unlimited access to my time and personal resources. Yes I may be a public official but I do have my rights and I will zealously guard those rights," she said.

However, entertainer and chutney singer Nermal Gosein alleged that he had been threatened by Webster-Roy's husband and filed a police report. 

Gosein said in a statement that he had received several missed calls while he was asleep and when he returned the call, a man answered and identified himself as Webster-Roy's husband. 

Gosein accused him of using threatening remarks and obscene language and said he reported the incident to the Marabella Police Station.

He said he was 'shocked and amazed' at the allegations that he had prank called the Minister. 

However, Minister Webster-Roy refuted those allegations, saying she never had a conversation with Gosein, nor did she or her husband ever threaten him. 

She said Gosein's claims that her husband is a pastor were also incorrect, and the numbers he claimed to be hers do not belong to her or anyone in her family.

According to the Section 30A(1) of the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) (Harassment) Act, 2005, harassment of a person includes alarming the person or causing the person distress by engaging in a  course of conduct such as:

(i) following, making visual recordings of, stopping or accosting the person;

(ii) watching, loitering near or hindering or preventing access to or from the person’s place of residence, workplace or any other place frequented by the person;

(iii) entering property or interfering with property in the possession of the person;

(iv) making contact with the person, whether by gesture, directly, verbally, by telephone, computer, post or in any other way.

The acts of harassment must have been carried out on at least two occasions. 

Under the Act, a person who pursues a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he knows or ought reasonably to know amounts to harassment of the other is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to $2,000 fine and six months' imprisonment.


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