Yesterday, the Mayor and City Council was presented with a copy of a report which describes in detail the harrowing experience of a minor who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a member of the city constabulary.
However, two months after the alleged incident no action has been taken to address the matter and the accused officer continues to serve.
The eight-page report of the September 15 meeting of the Legal Affairs and Security Committee details how a 15-year-old male who was detained for wandering was allegedly assaulted in the presence of at least one officer other than the perpetrator then made to recount the details of the attack to the commanding officer then to the Town Clerk in the presence of various other council officers before being released to the custody of a guardian who refused to accept him in the home.
The account also highlighted the failure of all the officers involved including the Chief Constable Andrew Foo to investigate, document and take appropriate action to protect the minor.
In fact the porous nature of the report forced Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to direct that all action be deferred until a comprehensive report on the matter is submitted to council. Two months after the alleged incident the Constable, a Lance Corporal remains on the job. There is also no evidence that the matter has been referred to the Guyana Police Force’s Sexual Offences Unit for investigation.
According to the report the minor was taken into custody on August 17 and placed before the court on a charge of wandering. There is no indication as to where the child was taken into custody or when he appeared in court.
A request from councillors at the meeting for these details proved futile as the Chief Constable was not in possession of the information. He could only state that an unnamed magistrate asked that the minor be kept in the custody of the constabulary until his age could be verified and he be returned to court. This request was made and honoured despite the fact that the constabulary does not having provisions for the detention of juveniles.
At some point during his detention for reasons unknown the minor was transferred to the Regent Street Outpost where the alleged incident occurred between August 22 and 23.
The incident came to the attention of the council after another constabulary officer who admitted to witnessing the assault approached the commanding officer who communicated with the Chief Constable who then called the Mayor and Town Clerk.
Inexplicably neither the Ministry of Social Protection nor the GPF was contacted at this point, instead the child was taken without representation to the town clerk’s office where he was subject to questioning from King before being released and directed to return the next day for a “confrontation” which his alleged abuser. He never returned.
When contacted after this questioning the child’s guardian told the constabulary that they wanted nothing to do with him as he was “causing problems” in the home.
At yesterday’s meeting Chase-Green noted that the report submitted lacked pertinent information and requested that it be deferred.
King however advised that it be seen as a preliminary report for “notification” of the council which would not discuss the matter until a full investigation is completed.
No timeline was presented for this investigation, however King cautioned that council should not discuss the matter publicly until it ends.
“This matter has been given enormous publicity but we must not be carried away we must work with diligence and patience. It is a matter of mere allegation at this point,” he stressed.
The committee identified 11 documents missing from the report first submitted by the Chief Constable. These include a statement on what transpired in the office of the Town Clerk on August 23, statement on what transpired in the office of the Assistant Superintendent (Commanding officer) as well as a statement from the officer who took over command of the outpost from the alleged perpetrator on August 23, and a statement from the guardian of the child.
Additionally the committee has requested a comprehensive report on the conditions of detention and arrest for the juvenile including the date he was detained, the detaining officer, the place where he was detained, whether he was in the company of others at the time of detention, where he was held, what charges were laid and when and why the child was relocated to the City Hall Outpost.
The court jacket including Magistrates order, dates of appearance and conditions of release, the name of the rank who directed that he be released, information on the standard operating procedures for release of prisoners, all diary entries pertaining to the matter, a response as to why the parties involved were not medically examined and a response as to why the “witness” did not report the matter to the officer who took over command have also been requested.
This is the second time this particular officer has been accused of sexually assaulting a juvenile in the custody of the constabulary. A similar incident in 2016 was handed over to the Guyana Police Force to be investigated but it was not pursued after his then accuser dropped the matter.