Advocating for a minister to be charged and jailed for rape before prosecutorial action is brought to finality can be considered interference, says Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.
Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall found himself in hot water earlier this month after a 16-year-old indigenous schoolgirl said she was raped by the minister last year at this home.
Dharamlall has since proceeded on administrative leave pending the probe. The file compiled by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is with the Director of Public Prosecutions for her advice. She has since recommended that additional work be done considering the seriousness of the allegations.
Nandlall, during his live “Issues in the News” programme last night, lamented the protest actions taking place in the city, saying that calling for favourable outcomes before the conclusion of the DPP’s input can interfere with the investigation.
“I ask that the system be allowed to work. Those politicians who are prosecuting and persecuting their political agendas must desist from so doing. If they are serious in their advocacy for justice to prevail then they must not interfere. What they are doing can be considered interference, because they are opening canvassing for a particular outcome.
I am not saying that one cannot protest, but you cannot protest while the process is ongoing and demanding a particular outcome, because you have already concluded and you have not seen the evidence, ” the AG said.
He noted that Dharamlall, as a citizen, is accorded certain constitutional and legal safeguards. Moreover, the AG said that his colleague minister, like any other person accused of a crime, is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He also assured that the government has been following the rule of law by not interfering in the matter.
Nandlall said that he is “happy” that the Childcare Protection Agency clarified that it has handled the matter in accordance with its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), with particular adherence to the Childcare Act and protocols promulgated by the Caribbean Court of Justice in respect of sexual offences.
“I am happy also that the Director of Public Prosecutions has seen it fit to issue a statement in which the holder of that office has made it clear – as she is entitled to do – that she will not be influenced or intimidated in any form or fashion, by any side in this matter, including those who are protesting and demanding a particular outcome from that office,” Nandlall said.
Nandlall’s comment comes on the heels of the statement from the DPP urging persons to desist from politicising the issue and to let the law run its course. Guyana Standard was also informed that the Office of the DPP has intercepted a phone call from an irate individual threatening to burn the building down.
Nandlall also debunked claims that anyone who wishes to speak to the child victim must first obtain his consent.
“I reject that contention absolutely. The Office of the Attorney General has distanced itself from this matter from its inception. I heard Mr Khemraj Ramjattan complaining that he has tried to make contact with me and I’ve not engaged him. That is true. I will not engage him. I will not be engaged in this matter!”