Journalist who broke 1997 story on Sabga report:‘ Authorities protected these people’ /

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