Cabinet still to discuss Broomes’ parking lot incident

Simona Broomes

The July 8th confrontation between Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes, her driver and two security guards in the parking lot of the Amazonia Mall, at Providence, did not engage the attention of Cabinet this week as was expected, State Minister Joseph Harmon said yesterday.

The issue was expected to be the subject of deliberations by Cabinet for about two weeks now.

Harmon said last week that it would engage Cabinet’s attention this week.

Responding to enquiries during a post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon disclosed that the issue was not dealt with at this week’s meeting. “It’s still a security matter. In fact, the police [force] is dealing with the matter and so that is where it rests right now,” he said.

However, the police have already announced that no charges will be laid in the matter and as a result it is unclear what Harmon was referring to during the briefing.

The Alliance for Change, a partner in the governing coalition, is still to make a statement on the matter despite promising to do so.

The altercation occurred when Broomes visited the Amazonia Mall to purchase food from the New Thriving Chinese Restaurant.

Broomes had claimed that she and her driver were verbally abused and threatened by the two security guards but surveillance footage of the confrontation showed otherwise. Nevertheless, based on her initial complaint, the two guards were detained by police for 16 hours before they were released on their own recognisance.

The police had said in its first statement on the incident that a “thorough investigation” was launched following allegations of abuse and threats against a minister and her driver. It did not name Broomes. “Initial enquiries reveal that both parties seemed to have been very aggressive,” the statement had said.

Concerns have been raised that Broomes abused her privilege as minister and possibly lied about the incident.

Observers have said that Broomes’ behaviour is in violation of the existing Code of Conduct for government officials.

Neither Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, under whose signature the Code of Conduct was gazetted on June 12th, 2017, nor Harmon believes that the code has any relevance in this situation. 

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