GUYANA | DPP advises police to drop rape case against Local Gov't Minister Nigel Dharamlall

GUYANA |  DPP advises police to drop rape case against Local Gov't Minister Nigel Dharamlall

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 4, 2023 -  Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C has  advised the police that there should be no further investigation in to the alleged rape of a minor by Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Mr. Nigel Dharamlall.

According to the Guyana Police Force in a statement today, Ali-Hack advised that in the absence of  a formal complaint by the 16-year-old, there is no legal provision for the Police to proceed with the matter against Dharamlall.

Explosive, intimate, detailed and graphic accounts of what allegedly occurred were initially directed to the government, of rape, sodomy and forced oral sex of a minor by the minister.

The information was later shared via social media. The 16-year old girl alleged that Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall raped her at his residence last December..

The minor who is from the Indigenous community participated in an Indigenous pageant last year which was sponsored by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

The Force said the case file in relation to the allegation of rape made against Dharamlall was sent to the DPP for her legal opinion. “In her advice, the DPP disclosed that consideration was given to the fact that the complainant gave a further statement to investigators that she wished to withdraw her complaint against Minister Dharamlall and that her decision was not influenced by anyone and that the same was in her best interest.”

The Police said the DPP also proffered her advice “based on the fact that the virtual complainant’s statement was taken by a forensic interviewer in the presence of a parent, a Child Care officer and a Police officer and that success[ive] statement was free and voluntary.”

And in light of the above, the police said the DPP “concluded that in the absence of the victim’s complaint, there is no legal provision for the Police to proceed with the matter.”

Demerara Waves is reporting that the matter was from the inception, being facilitated by  the non-governmental organisation, Blossom Incorporated – a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) that plays a key role in investigating alleged sexual offences along with police and the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.

However, when Blossom reportedly declined for the girl to be interviewed yet again because of concerns for her mental well-being, police whisked her off to ChildLink.

ChildLink, the other CAC, said the girl issued a statement on June 30, 2023 saying she wanted “no further action.” “Shortly into the interview the child brought to the attention of the CAC staff that
she had already given a statement on the said morning of no further action. The CAC team immediately wrapped up the interview and did not proceed with any questions. No further statements were taken,” ChildLink said.

ChildLink said that the interview was conducted on that day when the the CPA and Police requested the Georgetown-based CAC to conduct a forensic interview to complete the investigation. They raised concerns on the apparent breaches of protocols.

In the wake of the police force’s finger-pointing that a non-governmental organisation had leaked information, ChildLink denied ever doing so. “The accusation of leakages in this current case is troubling, ChildLinK maintains that it has acted professionally in all of its involvement in this case,” the organisation said in a statement at the weekend.

ChildLink stressed that the various disclosures that have been made regarding that young woman’s posture and position on that matter are “regrettable and none can be attributed to ChildLinK including her last statements.”

That CAC also denied playing any part in the girl deciding to withdraw from the investigation. “We wish to categorically distance ChildLinK from any actual or perceived involvement in any alleged harassment, fatigue or frustration of this young woman’s effort at justice,” the entity said.

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) at the weekend called for Mr Dharamlall to be charged in the public interest and for the case to go ahead with the State leading evidence in the absence of the girl. The DPP Chambers Prosecutors’ Code also provides for the withdrawal of a complaint, taking into consideration the victim’s age and health.


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