Nigel Dharamlall questioned by Police over new sexual assault allegations

Former Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall turned himself in to Police for questioning in relation to the new sexual assault allegations made against him by a young woman.
Last week, the 28-year-old complainant – a former staff at the Local Government and Regional Development Ministry – alleged that she was sexually molested twice by the embattled former Minister. During a virtual press conference last Friday, the woman revealed that she had filed a comprehensive Police complaint, and expressed her hope for a thorough investigation and eventual justice.
On Tuesday morning, the Guyana Police Force’s Corporate Communications Unit disclosed that Dharamlall was being interrogated at the Cove and John Police Station.

Nigel Dharamlall being escorted to the Cove and John Police Station on Tuesday morning by his lawyer

“Relative to the sexual assault allegations levelled against former Minister Nigel Dharamlall, at 09:20h this (Tuesday) morning, Mr Dharamlall turned himself in to Police at Cove and John Police Station, ECD [East Coast Demerara]. Investigators are currently questioning him in relation to the allegations made,” the Unit said.
Dharamlall’s legal team, led by Attorney-at-Law Bernard DaSilva, had accompanied him to the Station.
After several hours of interrogation, the lawyer told reporters, his client is cooperating. At the time, he explained it was unlikely that Dharamlall would be released.
“He is cooperating with the Police… He just conducted an interview of which he denied all the allegations and the Police will have to take it from there… [But] he was interviewed uninterrupted,” DaSilva said, adding that “There are certain procedures that the Police have to enforce. He has passed through the records; he has to be booked – those type of things. So, the Police are still doing that, but as far as the interview was concerned, which is my concern, that is over and he’s now being processed.”
DaSilva went on to say that “Bail cannot be decided at this stage primarily because the OC (officer-in-charge at the station) doesn’t have that jurisdiction to consider bail.”
According to the lawyer, given the nature of the crime and the prominence of the suspect, bail would have to be determined by the hierarchy of the Police Force.
Over the weekend, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum had told the Guyana Times that while a complaint of misconduct was lodged in Division 4C (ECD), the matter is also engaging the attention of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.
Nevertheless, up to Tuesday evening, senior Police officials confirmed that the suspect was still in custody and could not say whether he would be released during the course of the night.
During a virtual press conference on Friday, the 28-year-old complainant detailed two separate incidents of sexual molestation by Dharamlall.
The first, she revealed, was committed back in September 2020 at State House in Anna Regina, where she was invited by the then Minister to be interviewed for a job. She claimed that upon arriving, she was taken into a bedroom, where she was sexually assaulted. She described feeling trapped and violated as she resisted the official’s advances.
The woman revealed that the second incident occurred in 2021 at the former Minister’s residence in Cummings Lodge. She admitted that she was hesitant to report the matter, considering the extent of corruption within the Police Force, and more importantly, she did not want her name to be dragged through the mud.
However, hours after the accusation surfaced, the former Government official issued a statement vehemently refuting the claims made against him. He expressed awareness of the alleged complainant’s press conference, where she levelled “malicious” allegations against him. He began by outrightly denying each accusation put forth by the woman.
“For some while hitherto, I was privy to rumours that (named person) was making unsavoury comments in relation to me, but I made a deliberate effort to ignore them. I have known (name provided) personally for several years, and have always maintained a most civil and cordial relationship with her, including socialising on many occasions. Her demeanour towards me changed fundamentally after I rebuffed her advances and spurned her attempts to engage in an intimate relationship,” the statement said.
“Thereafter, (name provided) embarked on a campaign to malign and tarnish my reputation. This was manifested through several fake profiles on social media, surreptitious leaks of information to the traditional media, and a whisper campaign to anyone willing to listen. It really begs the question as to what has reignited this quest by (named person) to sully my good name, particularly at this time. Her latest attempt bears testimony to this.
“I have already engaged and instructed Attorneys-at-law, who are reviewing the statements made by (named person) with a view (to) instituting legal proceedings against her and other persons associated with propagating these falsehoods, as may be necessary,” Dharamlall said in the missive. (G8)