Radhica De Silva
David Millette, the lone journalist who broke the story on the Robert Sabga Report, which exposed rampant sexual and physical abuse at T&T’s children’s homes, says after 25 years, he remains hopeful that the perpetrators highlighted then will be brought to justice.
Millette, who worked at the T&T Mirror when he broke the story back in December 1997, said when he got the troubling Sabga report, his informant told him the contents were being swept under the carpet.
Millette wrote six stories in the Mirror, outlining in detail the findings of the Sabga-led Task Force, none of which prompted any police action. Some of the headlines read: «Sex abuse at children’s homes,» «Incest victim treated like a criminal,» «Homosexuality home,» «Pantin can’t axe wicked St Jude’s nun» and «Staffer encourages boys to have sex while he watches.»
Asked why then police commissioner Kenny Mohammed did nothing to investigate the alleged crimes, Millette said, «There were a bunch of cowards operating. It would have mashed too many corns and as such, they protected these people.»
Millette remembers reading the report which outlined in detail the horror to which children were subjected.
«It was shocking, revolting to say the least. It was distasteful as to how the nuns and others were treating the children,» he recalled.
Millette said he used to run around Queen’s Park Savannah to clear his mind of the stress of reporting incidents of abuse. He said back then, it was unlikely that the perpetrators would be charged.
«The person who gave me the report gave it to me because they were clear that nothing would be done about it. I believed the person, that is why they wanted this to be exposed. They wanted to at least get the details out there with the hope that something would be done,» he revealed.
Millette said he could not explain why the authorities failed to act.
«I cannot answer that. The children were there because they were less able to care for themselves. They were there because they had no choice. You would have expected that they would be given love and care by the caregivers who were supposed to protect them, but instead, those caregivers became oppressors,» he added.
Millette said now that the report was in the public domain, he wanted the authorities to act on it.
«We have a second bite at the cherry so to speak, and we hope that the authorities will act and society will be mad enough to demand action. I do not hold my breath, I am not optimistic but I live in hope,» he said.
He said journalism makes reporters immune to certain kinds of trauma but admitted that he did lose sleep after reading the Sabga report.
«It bothered me, maybe today it still bothers me on reflection. I was the medium by which the report came out in the public. It was left up to the authorities to do what they have to do and the politicians had it, they commissioned it, but they did nothing. We will hope that the perpetrators would be brought to justice. You talking about paedophiles here,» he added.
LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian