The Guyana Police Force is yet to reveal what the recommendations were from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Office after the case file into Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh’s car accident on Republic night was returned to the force on April 8th.
Stabroek News understands that it took some time for the case file to be returned and reviewed by the relevant authorities at police headquarters on Brickdam. This newspaper has engaged those in charge of the case file, but was told that the Superintendent tasked with the file was unavailable.
The police’s actions have many critics unenthused and not surprised. The police had stated that the file had been sent to the DPP as a result of “longstanding tradition” in relation to cases involving senior government officials.
Observers have been awaiting the outcome of the police investigation since the accident over two months ago, with many stating that the police have lagged in their probe because it was a minister who was involved. Critics argued that there was no reason to send the file to the DPP citing Trinidad and Tobago’s recent cases against ministers which the police are handling without recourse to the DPP.
Head of the Guyana Bar Association, Ronald Burch-Smith was critical of the police, stating that the police were severely deficient in their probe of the incident. Burch-Smith made the point that in similar instances it was not unusual to have the case brought before the magistrate’s court a few days after the incident. He had said that “the police are very good at deciding when they investigate,” and when they purposely move slowly.
On Republic night, Singh was involved in an accident which left the driver of the other car, Jageshwar Hira and his passenger, Parbattie Shivcharan, slightly injured. The attorney general represented Singh and released a statement saying that the finance minister was not intoxicated at the time of the accident and left the scene to seek medical attention.
“I was coming down this street [west on Garnett Street, Campbellville] and this vehicle was coming out of this road [Delph Avenue] and just jump the major road, slam into me sending we into that gutter… The man come out then we see is the finance minister but he ain’t even offer help. He just jump into another vehicle and drive off leaving we hay …,” Hira had told Stabroek News at the scene.
The AG in a statement on February 27, said that “At or about 21:00 hours on 23rd February, 2014 at the junction of Garnett and Delph Streets, Campbellville, Greater Georgetown, the Honourable Minister of Finance was involved in a vehicular collision with a motor car.
“The Minister was taken to a city hospital for medical attention shortly after the accident. An associate of the Minister facilitated the driver of the vehicle and the lone passenger to be taken to a city hospital for medical treatment. “The matter was duly reported to the police and is being investigated.
“Without prejudice to the rights of all the parties to seek legal recourse, the Attorney General met with the driver, the owner of the vehicle and the passenger with a view of exploring the possibility of bringing the matter to an amicable end.”
A deal was eventually reached by the AG with Hira and Shivcharan on behalf of Singh.