Association of Women Lawyers, GPSU and TCI join calls for thorough and full investigation into rape allegations against Minister Dharamlall

Association of Women Lawyers, GPSU and TCI join calls for thorough and full investigation into rape allegations against Minister Dharamlall

With mounting calls for the Minister at the centre of rape allegations to be removed from office and not just proceed on leave, a number of civil society groups are joining the chorus of calls for a fair, thorough and detailed probe of the rape and sexual assault against the Minister of Local Government, Nigel Dharamlall.

The allegations have been leveled against the Minister by a 16-year-old school girl.

In a statement, the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) said it condemns all acts of sexual violence, particularly, against women and children.

The Association reminded that a Minister of Government is appointed by the people and for the people and should at all times serve the people, adding that those who wield such power are not above the law.

The Women Lawyers group urged that the rule of law be upheld for a full and fair investigation into the allegations to protect the interest of all parties. Additionally, GAWL issued a call on the Guyana Police Force and all the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation while upholding their primary objective, to serve and protect.

The group also urged members of the public not to peddle speculation and misinformation that could pervert the course of justice and result in further damage to the complainant.

In statement on Tuesday, the Guyana Public Service Union raised concern over attempts by another Minister of Government to meet with the child and the involvement of the Child Care and Protection Agency in the investigations.

According to the GPSU, it is a violation of the Sexual Offences Act, 2010 (as amended) and a direct affront to the rule of law for any Government Official or any other person outside the Sexual Violence Unit of the Guyana Police Force to establish contact with the child who is in need of Protection.

The GPSU also said the Child Care and Protection Agency Act, 2009 makes no provision for investigation by the Child Care and Protection Agency or anyone outside the remit of the Guyana Police Force under the circumstances of the current case.

“The retraumatization of survivors of sexual crimes is a criminal offence under the Laws of Guyana. In fact, amendments to the Sexual Offences Act introduced a paper committal process whereby survivors of sexual violence are protected from the unnecessary burden of repeating the horror of their bodies being violated in the most inhumane form”, the union noted.

And political party, The Citizenship Initiative in a late night statement on Tuesday said it is disappointed that due process in the matter only started after public pressure was placed on the administration.

TCI expressed its disappointment that the government did not act decisively in removing Minister Dharamlall from public office, especially given his track record of vulgar utterances at our highest forum, Parliament, and other similar accusations of vulgar misconduct circulating in social media.

“TCI is of the opinion that whatever the outcome of this case, the public should not be foisted with the likes of Dharamlall, whose lack of character is not worthy of high offices of Guyana. Moreover, TCI notes the silence from the top offices of government, even if it’s to mention that every child must feel protected from predators, and in no case will there not be support for their vulnerability”, the political party said.

The Guyana Police Force is continuing its probe of the allegations against the Government Minister, who was arrested on Monday evening, but released on $1 million station bail hours later.

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