Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has declared that he will refrain from further commenting on the rape allegations made against Minister Nigel Dharamlall until the case has been heard in court and a judgment has been reached. Jagdeo emphasized that any statement made by his party could be twisted to appear as support, potentially fueling the opposition’s accusations of a government cover-up.
“The more we speak from the Executive, it’s distorted by an industry out there to say that we are attempting to exonerate or cover up any issue, and that is why, from the beginning, the President made it clear, and I endorse what he said. He said, and this goes for both party and government, that we don’t tolerate abuse of children and women,” Jagdeo stated.
Jagdeo affirmed that the government is strictly following the legal procedures outlined by Guyana’s laws in handling this matter. He emphasized the party’s commitment to adhering to the letter of the law and their avoidance of politicizing the issue or interfering with the course of justice. According to Jagdeo, neither the minister nor the victim should be judged or disparaged through social media, and that stance is held firmly by the government.
Additionally, Jagdeo accused the main parliamentary opposition of transforming the matter into a political issue, potentially influencing public opinion. He criticized these individuals for dealing with the issue based on political motives rather than its factual merits.
Jagdeo further labelled the opposition as “duplicitous” for demanding Dharamlall’s dismissal before his guilt or innocence has been determined in a court of law.
“He (Dharamlall) is off already [but] now they want him to be fired even before the matter is fully investigated… They want him fired. They are protesting for that,” Jagdeo stated.
Moreover, Jagdeo accused the opposition of exploiting the issue to divert attention from their substantial electoral defeat and internal conflicts. He cited recent reports of infighting among opposition members over the selection process for their representatives following the conclusion of the Local Government Elections this month.