July 2, 2023 -Police on Friday night confirmed that a 16-year-old school girl who had accused Guyana’s Local Government Minister, Nigel Dharamlall, of rape, has said she no longer wants to pursue the matter.
Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Commissioner Wendell Blanhum, in a brief statement said “at this time, I am only able to confirm that the alleged victim has given a ‘no further action statement’ to investigators in the presence of one of her parents and a representative from the ChildCare Agency.
“The file is currently being prepared to be sent to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) for further legal advice,” Blanhum added.
Media reports here said that on Friday, the 16-year-old was taken for a round of forensic interviews with police and other authorities at Blossom Inc, the leading child advocacy body in Guyana.
The reports said afterward “she was unnecessarily shunted to another advocacy group-Child Link to answer the same questions she had been asked during several rounds of questioning”.
Dharamlall, an executive member of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), who is on one million dollars (one Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) bail, has publicly denied all accusations.
Police had arrested the minister, who has since gone on leave to facilitate the probe, when he presented himself at the Brickdam Police Station in the company of his attorney, Nigel Hughes, last week Monday night.
There have been calls from the opposition, as well as several civil society organizations including the Amerindian Peoples Association and Red Thread, for Dharamlall to be removed from public office,.
Earlier this week, Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, said the embattled minister, is innocent until proven guilty as the DPP called on the police to continue their investigations into the rape allegations.
“Mr Dharamlall as a citizen is accorded certain constitutional and legal safeguards by the highest of our laws – the Constitution. He is accorded certain facilities, he is presumed innocent like every other citizen of this country, and the investigative arm of the State must be allowed, free from any form of pressure to conduct its investigatory role and functions,” Nandlall said on his televised program ‘Issues in the News’ on Tuesday night.
The Office of the DPP, in a statement, said that it will not be intimidated by individuals who profess to want justice in a criminal matter even while a police file is being given due legal attention.
It had urged the public to desist from politicizing an alleged criminal offence, adding “all statements or evidence must be considered before legal advice is given to the Guyana Police Force.”