Oct 29, 2010 News
Former Deputy Director of Operations at the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA), Diana Lawrence, is reiterating her position that she never handled the Neesa Gopaul case.
Sixteen-year-old Neesa Lalita Gopaul met her demise in gruesome circumstances. Her mother, Bibi Sharima Gopaul and the mother’s lover, Jarvis Small, a gym instructor, have since been charged with the teen’s murder.
Mrs. Lawrence yesterday in an invited comment explained that she had resigned on October 3, and her resignation was accepted through a letter she received from the agency.
“I resigned from my post at the agency…..so I’m baffled about certain statements that I was fired,” Lawrence said.
She said that if she is being accused of handling the matter, the agency must bring the evidence to support this claim. Furthermore she says it was the Agency’s Director, who first received the report about the now dead teen.
Lawrence explained that the matter never came into contact with her. According to the former deputy, “the director hands out various cases to the officers. No one gets to choose a case. No one has the authority to place or remove a child. The director has that sole responsibility.”
Lawrence is insistent that she would not be used as a distraction, so that the irregularities at the agency could be covered up.
Lawrence further told this publication that in her opinion, one of the reasons she is receiving such a reaction, is because she is owed gratuity from the Child Care and Protection Agency.
She said that if the minister (Priya Manickchand) wants to fire someone it should definitely be the Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency and the Deputy Director for Policy Development.
Lawrence stressed that the minister should investigate if these persons have done anything which has helped the agency in any significant way.
She also expressed her displeasure with the way in which the investigation was conducted. According to Lawrence, the investigating committee was “very subjective and came over in an accusing tone.”
The former deputy director opined that the investigators “should have been trying to put proper systems in place instead of targeting innocent people.”
Lawrence claims that she attempted many times to introduce systems, and added that she tried to empower the staff because of the fact they were within the Ministry of Human Services and their main purpose is to empower the disadvantaged in society.
“If our officers are not empowered, how can they, in turn empower the society,” said Lawrence.
She further stated that she tried to manage the Child Protection Agency in a manner which would see the best coming out of it.
“It is very unfortunate that the agency has leading persons who play the blame game when they should be taking responsibility for their actions. I have always been concerned with what happens at the agency, and the evidence is the numerous systems I have tried to implement, without the support of any superior,” Lawrence concluded.
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