Guyana’s first Local Government Commission is likely to take up the sexual assault case at the Mayor & City Council (M&CC) that involved a 15-year-old boy and a city police Lance Corporal. This led to the surprise firing of a Corporal
who blew the whistle on the incident.
The commissioners are preparing for their first meeting at the Ministry of the Communities Boardroom where they will appoint a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and look into the hiring of a secretary which will enable the commission to begin working.
Marlon Williams, who was nominated by the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, to sit on the Commission, said that the City Hall case falls under the remit of the commission which is appointed to oversee, monitor, investigate and examine the actions of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and the municipalities.
“This thing is a very critical issue,” Williams told Kaieteur News.
On October 17, the Lance Corporal accused of forcing a detained 15-year-old boy into a sexual act was fired and arrested. This occurred some hours after the M&CC dismissed him for “gross misconduct.” At the same time, the City Constabulary Corporal who had witnessed the act was also been given marching orders.
A letter issued to him by Town Clerk, Royston King, stated that he was being dismissed for “dereliction of duty,” since he had not made a note of the incident in the occurrence book.
City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green also told Kaieteur News that the Corporal had “failed to protect a juvenile,” since he had not intervened while witnessing his junior colleague’s actions.
There are suggestions that the officer may have been fired for blowing the whistle on the junior rank. There are reports that the culprit, who was implicated in a similar act, last year, had close ties with officials on the Georgetown M&CC.
“Before we reach to the point of addressing issues like that; and that is a very critical issue. It is by no means something to be brushed aside, but unfortunately we have many levels to reach before we get there,” Williams explained.
He said the Commission is new and he believes the spirit of the Constitution was to get a bipartisan collective group to look at issues like the M&CC case.
“I must commend the President and the Minister for taking the initiative to initiate this commission as quickly as possible. It is a landmark decision of the current Government,” Williams noted.
Many questions have swirled about the sexual abuse case as to why the officer was not dismissed two months ago, when the facts of his alleged ‘dereliction of duty’ were known.
Mayor Chase-Green had stated that she only became aware of the case after Kaieteur News exposed the issue in its “Dem Boys Seh” column. She has refuted claims that there was a cover-up on the part of the council. Chase- Green said that it was she who had insisted on an investigation, after learning of the allegation.
In the statement he gave to a City Constable, the juvenile, of no fixed place of abode, said he was arrested on August 22, for loitering and placed on the prisoners’ bench at the Regent Street Enquiries Outpost at City Hall before the unfortunate incident unfolded.
Other members of the Local Government Commission are former Region Ten chairman, Mortimer Mingo; former Region Four chairman, Clement Corlette; educator, Joan Ann Romascindo; union leader, Andrew Garnett; former Town Clerk of Georgetown, Carol Sooba, and former government ministers, Norman Whittaker and Clinton Collymore.
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