Friday, September 13, 2013

The battle with Citipointe continues, with a possible end in sight!

This blog began with a simple objective. I wanted to free to express opinions about Australian film that were being censored by Encore online. It soon segued into a means whereby I sought to hold senior bureaucrats within Screen Australia accountable for their actions. I was banned by Screen Australia for my efforts from even speaking with members of Screen Australia staff. The ban remains in place despite all the demonstrable factual evidence that I never intimidated or placed at risk (the ostensible reason for the ban) members of Screen Australia’s staff.

The next stage was (and remains) to hold Brisbane-based Citipointe church accountable for the illegal removal of two girls from an impoverished family in Cambodia in mid-2008. The battle with Citipointe has seen the church threaten to sue me and to have me arrested and jailed.

There are some glimmers of hope that Cambodia’s leading human rights organization, LICADHO, might not only ask questions of Citipointe that the English language media in Cambodia refuses to ask but put pressure on church to return the girls to their family.

Leigh Ramsay
322 Wecker Road
QLD 4152                                                                                          

12th Sept. 2013

Dear Leigh Chanti was excited this morning to tell me, after hers and Chhork's meeting with the NGO, that LICADHO had assured them that Rosa and Chita wold be returned to them 'soon'. 

Whilst I was pleased for Chanti and Chhork I reminded her that Citipointe has been making such promises for five years and has never once adhered to any one of them. The first such promise (filmed) was in Nov 2008. You were going to return Rosa and Chita to their parents after the Water Festival, remember? The first of a litany of lies. 

Chanti also told me that on 16th Sept. she and Chhork will be meeting with LICADHO and Citipointe church in Phnom Penh to discuss the practicalities of Rosa and Chita returning to live with their family in Prey Veng. 

Chanti has asked me, as her advocate, to be present at the meeting on Monday. I will, of course, attend. I will bring with me audio-visual material that will back up every allegation I have made in my correspondence this past five years. This can be viewed in the event that Citipointe decides to play fast and loose with the truth during this meeting with LICADHO. In the event that there is any disagreement between myself and Citipointe regarding who said what we will have access to all of the correspondence that has taken place between Citipointe and myself in the form of my blog. The option of re-inventing the past will not be open to either Citipointe or myself. 

I trust that is this meeting Citipointe will make clear too Chanti and Chhork whether or not the church intends to provide any form of ongoing assistance to the family as it moves towards total self-sufficiency when Rosa and Chita go home. As Chanti and Chhork will attest, and as correspondence between myself and the church makes clear, Citipointe has done absolutely nothing this past five years to facilitate re-integration of Rosa and Chita back into the family. Indeed, on occasions when Chanti's other children were suffering from malnutrition (filmed), when Chanti had a tumour on her wrist that needed to be removed (filmed) and when, earlier this year Chanti required hospitalisation for her pneumonia (filmed) your church refused to provide any financial assistance at all. The promises you made to me (in person) and Chanti in mid 2008 that you would be assisting the entire family in a move towards self-sufficiency were empty. Lies. Rebecca Brewer's explanation to me at the time as to why Citipointe would provide Chanti's family with no assistance was as follows: 

“Regarding continued support to Chanti, we are unable to assist with distributing this sort of aid. Our focus is to assist the children in our care as needed and the work we do with the parents is limited. If we were to be seen giving handouts to one individual parent it could prove very disruptive to the rest of the community.”

This email from Rebecca was written after you induced Chanti to place her thumb print on the 31st July 2008 'contract'. In this same email exchange Rebecca made clear that it was Citipointe's intention to keep Rosa and Chita until they were 18.

“Rosa and Chita stay with us until they are 18 or until she can provide a safe environment for them, as defined by LICADHO and the Ministry of Social Affairs.” 

Had you and Rebecca behaved this way in Australia you would both have been charged with one of a variety of crimes relating to kidnapping. In Cambodia you and other similarly unscrupulous NGOs can steal the children of poor Cambodian parents with impunity.  

Only in the past year has it been possible for me to step in and provide Chanti and Chhork's family with the kid of assistance that Citipointe promised and never delivered. The family now owns a tuk tuk, a small block of land, a house, pigs, ducks and chickens and is well on the way to becoming self-sufficient. Yes, the family will almost certainly require some assistance from me in the future but it is not in the family's interests that it become dependent on me financially; that self-sufficiency be achieved as soon as possible. This is my goal. 

As I have mentioned before, the money invested by myself in helping Chanti and Chhork's family become self-sufficient amounts to around $5,000. How much has it cost Citipointe to keep Rosa and Chita in an institution this past five years? Far in excess of $5,000. And how much money has Citipointe raised by way of donations and sponsorships by advertising Rosa and Chita, on the internet, as 'victims of human trafficking? Another outrageous Citipointe lie. And how much of the money raised by the church under false pretences has been used to help the family become self-sufficient? Not one cent. Citipointe is, amongst other things, guilty of exploiting poor Cambodians to make money for the church. Perhaps you justify this to yourself with the warm fuzzy feeling it gives you to have won some souls for Jesus Christ. I am sure that Jesus Christ would much rather that these souls came to him of their own accord and were not forced, with a metaphorical gun at their head, to adopt Citipointe's very un-Christian form of Christianity.

I look forward to meeting with you and/or a representative of Citipointe church on Monday. 

best wishes

James Ricketson

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