Despite the schoolgirl, who had accused Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall of rape and sodomy, has issued a “no further action” statement, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) said that the “public interest” demands a trial in the case.
On Friday last, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum disclosed that the 16-year-old girl had given investigators a “no further action statement” in the presence of one of her parents and a representative from the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA).
However, this revelation has triggered concerns about the manner in which the case was handled by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), CC&PA, the Director of Public Prosecutions and a non-governmental organisation.
In fact, in a lengthy statement, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) posited that the complainant issuing a “no further action statement” was the result intended from the outset by the Minister’s “political defenders.”
As such, the human rights body is calling for the implementation of a Safeguarding Policy in every organisation in the country.
“Despite unprecedented public revulsion over the incident, Government leaders continue to see nothing in the pattern of Dharamlall’s behaviour that even merits a rebuke. This non-reaction has all the hallmarks of the suspect being in a position to embarrass others if action were taken against him.”
The case file regarding the rape accusations is set to be sent back to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C., on Tuesday, July 4.
And the GHRA said that the DPP has two lines of enquiry to pursue in determining whether to lay charges in a case.
The first is focused on the reliability and credibility of the evidence collected by the Police and delivered to her. The second is whether the prosecution of the case is in the public interest.
“Public interest considerations in the Dharamlall case point heavily in support of the need for a trial: the imbalance in power, the indigenous background and age of the victim together with a prior record of publicized instances of public sexual harassment and humiliation of women all encourage this conclusion.”