Parents and youths gathered to discuss the minister’s statement

Aggrieved parents and youth of LEP to write to PM and Labour Minister over controversial statement by Labour Minister

A recent statement made by the Labour Minister has hurt the sentiments of the parents and youths that went on the Japan Learn and Earn Program (LEP).

The Kuensel story, printed on its issue dated 19 October 2019, reported on the statement made by the Labour and Human Resources Minister, Ugyen Dorji, on Japan LEP issue to the Annual Gups’ Conference, stating, “Clarifying that whatever issues are reported in the media about the Japan case is not true.”

While the Parents’ Committee lawyer, Ngawang Tobgay, said the statement by Lyonpo saying “whatever issues are reported in the media about the Japan case is not true”, in front of the Gups in the Annual Gups’ Conference held, has hampered them.

“I was so surprised when I saw the statement made in the national paper,” said Ngawang Tobgay.

He said the Labour Minister made that statement in front of the Gups of 205 gewogs. He further said the Gups are very influential people in their gewogs, and also it was reported in the national paper, which is read by all the people nationwide. He added, “This would mean we will have huge disadvantage in our legal case.”

He said since the Japan case has been pending before relevant authorities is yet to be registered before the competent court, such remarks from the highest authority came as a surprise and as a matter of grave concern for the aggrieved parents and the youth of LEP.

“The case is still on going, and no other person is allowed to make any comments on it. And there is a high probability that the statement from Lyonpo may have undue implications on the outcome of the case,” he said.

He pointed out that the LEP case is a national issue; it is an issue of 730 youths. “One of the LEP youth took his life and one remains in coma and the other one died, and many are stressed because of the loan they have to pay back, and Lyonpo just made that statement without any thought,” said the lawyer.

Ngawang Tobgay said he will be submitting letters to the Prime Minister and Labour Minister, requesting for an explanation from the Minister for Labour and Human Resources on his controversial statement on the Japan case.

A member of the Parents’ Committee, Khedrup Dorji, said Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji is misinforming the Gups and the whole nation, and Lyonpo should also apologize to the victims.

One of parents, Tenzin, said the statement by the Labour Minister reflects that there is no support from the government.

“By going through that statement in the paper, the only thought that came to me is, even the Labour Minister is protecting the BEO owners. By that single statement, it shows that all the youths and parents coming together for the justice seems of no use. It shows all of us are lying and the problems our children faced are all lies.”

“We should seek clarification from Labour Lyonpo on why did he make that statement,” said Tenzin.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji, when asked about this controversial statement last week said, “I did not really mean it,” and he went on to explain that it was part of a larger statement which he did not fully remember.

The reporter from the paper confirmed that Lyonpo did say that ‘all issues reported in the media is not true’ and it was in the context of Lyonpo talking about his visit to Japan with some MPs where he found most of the youths are doing well and the media did not cover this bit.

According to the parents’ committee 590 students have signed the power of attorney to sue BEO.

The parent’s committee lawyer, the youth of LEP and parents also thanked Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) for taking up their case and finishing the investigation within three months, which the committee members and the victims thought would take ages.

While the RBP came up with additional charges of Official Misconduct, Aiding and Abetting, Failure to Report Crime and Larceny by Deception and also booked current and former BEO employees in addition to forgery three charges of Harassment, Human Trafficking and Abandonment of Person in Danger were dropped.

They will approach the police station to hear out the reasons for dropping the three charges, and also work on getting more information if the police need it.

He also advised the LEP youth not to just stay back home and wait for the case to be over, but rather to do some productive work and he can also help if they need.

Meanwhile, a Japanese lawyer is working to sue SND in Japan. Ngawang Tobgay has been submitting all the necessary documents to him lately.

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