The law firm representing the embattled Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall says their client has denied involvement in any sexual assault of a16-year-old child.
“All the allegations are denied,” said the law firm of Hughes Fields & Stoby, which is headed by prominent criminal and civil attorney Nigel Hughes, who confirmed that Dharamlall has retained the services of a firm of Attorneys at Law to represent him and protect his interests
“Mr. Dharamlall remains willing and disposed to assist in a full investigation of the matter,” said Hughes.
On Sunday, President Irfaan Ali said that he has “no problem” with a request made by Dharamlall, to proceed on leave to facilitate the investigation.
“The minister has requested leave for a full probe into the allegations and I have no problem with it. I have agreed,” Ali told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) in a telephone interview.
He made it clear that his administration “will not stand in the way of any probe” insisting also that “I was never ever formally informed of it (the allegation).
“I was never written to, I have never received any formal letter,” said Ali.
Hughes has appealed to an end to the speculation, particularly on social media, regarding the embattled minister, saying no further statements will be issued by or on behalf of Dharamlall.
“In the interest of a fair investigation and the necessity to protect the interests of all parties concerned, we urge that speculation, wild accusations, pre mature judgments and unsupported conclusions be avoided,” he said.
Meanwhile, Red Thread, a women and children’s rights advocacy organisation, has criticised what it termed the disrespect for the child and her family due to the publishing of the information, including graphic details, on social media.
“It is not easy for anyone, let alone a young girl to speak out against such atrocities meted out to them. What should have been an opportunity to do what is right for this young woman has turned into a disaster.
“Even the politicians are using this young woman’s situation for political mileage. This is not having the best interest of this child at heart. This is selfishness. This is exploitation at its worst. Shame and disgrace!,” Red Thread said in a statement.
Earlier, an opposition legislator said while the decision by Dharamlall, to proceed on leave to facilitate an investigation is “an impotent step forward” she nonetheless is hoping “this will result in a full, fair, unbiased and impartial investigation”.
In a statement, opposition legislator, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, said that her attention has been drawn to a media report “which suggests that Minister Dharmalll has proceeded on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made by a minor.
“While this must be seen as an important step forward , like all Guyanese we trust that this will result in a full, fair, unbiased and impartial investigation , and that there will be compliance with the rule of law.”
The opposition MP said that there is need to continue “to advocate strongly for the rights of women and children”.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun 19, CMC