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Minister: I met with alleged assault victim

By Mark Bassant CCN Senior Multimedia Investigative Journalist

The government official facing accusations of making sexual advances on Mr Hall who sought his help has not yet responded to media reports on the matter.
However, the allegations of sexual advances made by his accuser, Mr Hall, took a new turn yesterday as a member of the Cabinet confirmed being told by the alleged victim about the advances
Rodger Samuel, Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, in a telephone interview, told CCN TV6 the man making the claim had sought his assistance.
“He came to me in my capacity as a pastor, we prayed for some time and I counselled him. Whatever was said, stays confidential. And I know there are two sides to a story,” Samuel said.
On Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CCN, Mr Hall had indicated that he sought the Arima MP’s help and met with him at his Arima office earlier this month.
“I would have indicated to him what is happening, he then indicated to me that he was going to get in contact with the Prime Minister. He did in fact contact the Prime Minister, the phone call when unanswered and he then contacted Barry Padarath who indicated that the PM was in a meeting.”
Minister Samuel confirmed, “I did try to get on to the Prime Minister but was unable to. But the next day when I heard about the pre-action protocol letter it stopped me in my tracks, because it was now a legal matter.”
Samuel said he was inclined to go to the Prime Minister, but the pre-action protocol letter given to Mr Hall changed that.
When questioned about the allegations put forward by Mr Hall, Minister Samuel, who is also a pastor, said: “I don’t judge things until I hear both sides. I don’t get emotional about hearing something I have to look at the facts and deal with the facts.”
CCN also contacted Communication Minister Vasant Bharath who said, “The story does not name the minister at this point in time and I know the police are investigating, so it will be a matter for the police.”
CCN tried to contact Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to throw some light on the matter. A voicemail was left on one of her cellphones while the other rang out.
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