See full statement from the Guyana Police Force:
The Guyana Police Force wishes to confirm that the investigation which was launched in relation to an allegation of rape against the Minister of Local Government, Mr Nigel Dharamlall on Monday the 19th day of June, 2023, is now completed.
The file is currently with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice.
Making it clear that allegations against Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall are being thoroughly investigated, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday emphasised the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) tough stance on sexual abuse.
According to the Vice President president in a broadcast interview, all the processes outlined in the Sexual Offences Act have been followed from the time the allegations were made.
Jagdeo echoed earlier sentiments of President Dr Irfaan Ali, in making it clear that should the Minister be found guilty, he will have to face the consequences.
“We have no tolerance for any abuse of women or children in our midst. Secondly, that there must be a full investigation of the allegations and if the Minister is found guilty, he faces all the consequences associated with the charge and the court imposed,” Jagdeo said.
“The law that’s being used, with the paper committal, was passed in 2010 when I was President. The Sexual Offences Act. It was one of the most advanced pieces of legislation at that time, in the region or in the world. So, we are intolerant to anybody harassing women or more so, children. We take a strong view on that matter.”
Jagdeo urged persons including members of the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) not to politicise the matter, noting that efforts to score political points do nothing but harm an impartial investigation. Jagdeo, who is also the General Secretary of the PPP/C, made it clear that his party takes abuse very seriously and assured that there is no coverup.
“We also believe that people must not be tried in the social media. And this is not a political matter. An allegation was made. It was fully investigated. The Minister was (put on bail) and he now faces the consequences.
Investigations are continuing. We allowed the process to continue. Process is important,” Jagdeo further went on.
“The State lived up to its responsibility to this child. It took the child into (protective) custody. All the processes were followed. The Minister too. He was presented with the allegations. He was taken into police custody and placed on bail. The Minister went on leave so he’s not on the job. That doesn’t often happen in countries like ours,” the Vice President said.
The allegations, which first surfaced on social media last week, have long since attracted the attention of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA).
The 16-year-old in question is in the care of the CC&PA, and Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud had said on Monday that every protocol is being followed in the case.
On Monday, the GPF had also confirmed that an investigation has been launched in relation to an allegation of rape against Dharamlall, who was placed on $1 Million station bail. In a statement, the GPF said that “…on Monday the 19th day of June, 2023, Mr Dharamlall presented himself at the Brickdam Police Station in the company of his attorney, where he was told of the allegation and subsequently arrested. The probe is ongoing.”
Dharamlall for his part, has retained the services of Hughes Fields & Stoby to represent him. A statement from the law firm informed on Monday that Dharamlall remains willing and disposed to assist in a full investigation of the matter. All the allegations have been denied, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes indicated.
“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 judgements and unsupported conclusions be avoided,” the law firm had stated.