I have been following the public debate on the troubling issue of the alleged sexual abuse of a juvenile who was in the care of the City Constabulary, by a Lance Corporal who was the Subordinate Officer in Charge of the Regent Street Station and rostered to work the 11:00 – 07:00 hours shift on Wednesday 23rd August 2017. As a consequence of my interest, I have noted a number of statements being made by the Mayor, attributing blame to the City Constabulary and particularly me, the Chief Constable, the most recent accusations being made on 2017.10. 23 at the Council’s statutory meeting, for failing to submit a report in a timely manner to allow for a hearing into the report made by the alleged victim.
In this regard it is necessary that I provide some clarity to the disturbing misinformation being disseminated into the public and which seems to have an ulterior motive of shifting blame from the alleged immoral act and crime which was allegedly committed within the confines of the Station by the perpetrator, to the Chief Constable, and others for reporting and acting on the issue.
While time will not permit me to respond to all of the issues raised as a consequence of this occurrence, I wish to therefore inform that having received the report at about 10:30 hours on the said date of the incident, from the now dismissed Corporal 1749 Quacey Baveghems, I immediately informed the Town Clerk and Mayor of the reported act committed on the Juvenile within our custody by the accused ex Lance Corporal. It should be noted that about half an hour after the report was made to the Mayor, the Mayor returned a call to me enquiring if she heard correctly as to what was reported, I then again related to her the story which was reported to me by my subordinates. The Mayor related that I need to be careful in dealing with the report and should take statements. It is evident therefore that there was no delay on the behalf of the City Constabulary in reporting this alleged criminal offence to higher authority. It is compulsory as a department that the Constabulary obtains the fiat of the Town Clerk in such matters and as such there was no deviation from procedure or impediment preventing the matter being handed to the Guyana Police Force. The Mayor’s pronouncement therefore that she was awaiting a report which took two weeks and that there were a number of lapses as additional statements were required is an indication that there was an intention to treat with the matter internally without regard to the statute and outside of the purview of the relevant agencies.
It was never the City Constabulary’s intention of delaying this matter by seeking to obtain additional statements as it was determined that the statement of the victim and the witness sufficed for higher authority to place the matter into the hands of the Police. Further it should be noted that at two successive meetings of the Legal Affairs and Security Committee, called to address this issue the Mayor found it necessary not only to attend but to usurp the committee’s authority, castigating the Chief Constable and Officers for perceived dereliction of duty and calling for them to be sanctioned. This posture infringed on the independence of the committee to be impartial and to be properly guided on the proceedings on which the committee embarked. Any further hearing at this forum is marred as a result of the prejudicial behaviour of the Chief Citizen to cast blame and carry out a public lynching of the Chief Constable. In retrospect, I can only conclude that the accused having been dismissed in 2016 at the hands of the Chief Constable for a similar sexual offence is sacrosanct, as shortly after his dismissal he was reemployed at the behest of the Mayor, having been deemed to be fit and proper for service with the Municipality, hence this latest debacle. In the prevailing circumstances, it may be beneficial if some thought is given to excerpts of the Honourable Public Security Minister’s statement, “Police will improve” dated October 12, 2017.
Andrew H Foo