Pilot and businessman, Orlando Charles, who is accused of trafficking 16 persons, is professing his innocence. He claims that the purported victims were coerced by an organisation to level these accusations against him. He further claims that the dispute between himself and these persons relates to salaries and not trafficking.
Charles issued a statement today, mere hours after the Guyana Police Force published a bulletin for his arrest. That bulletin was published a day after the Director of Public Prosecution advised that Charles be charged with 16 counts of trafficking in persons.
In a statement seen by this publication, Charles said that after he became aware of the bulletin, he called the number listed but the phone went unanswered. Nevertheless, the pilot said that he made contact with an Assistant Superintendent of Police at the Major Crimes Unit, Criminal Investigation Department and has willingly agreed to present himself to the cops as requested.
The man said that the dispute between himself and several persons, some of whom are accusing him of trafficking, is over wages. He said that he did not bring these individuals to Guyana, nor did he restrict their movements.
“Indeed a dispute arose with some of them over wages and I agreed to resolve the matter to our mutual agreement and some of the persons readily accepted settlement whilst others wanted more money. The discussions with the latter are ongoing and a reckoning was taking place… It was therefore surprising to learn via the media that I was being accused,” Charles said.
He added that the disgruntled persons were discussing their grievances at an establishment when they were approached by members of an organization. He alleges that these representatives suggested to the persons that the pay dispute could be classified as ‘Trafficking’, and they would assist them to get paid. Charles noted that he will defend himself “vigorously” against these charges he claims are aimed at tarnishing his reputation and that of his business. He has since retained Counsel, Attorney-at-law, Sanjeev Datadin.