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AFC, Attorney General in war of words over sexual assault plot against Trotman

House Speaker and AFC Co-Founder Raphael Trotman (centre with tie). In a show of party unity, rallying around him were Executive Members Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Cathy Hughes, Vice Chairman and Presidential Candidate Moses Nagamootoo, General Secretary David Patterson, Chairman Nigel Hughes, Youth Representative Trevor Williams and Party Leader Khemraj Ramjattan.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Friday accused Attorney General Anil Nandlall of helping to hatch a plot of alleged sexual abuse of a minor against House Speaker Raphael Trotman, but Nandlall has rebuffed those charges.

“The AFC has received information that apart from the involvement of the staff, the Senior Government official was himself directly involved in the falsification of the allegations leveled against Mr Trotman and the overall scheme to tarnish his reputation,” said the AFC’s General Secretary, David Patterson.

Reacting sharply to the AFC’s claim, the Attorney General expressed “utter shock” at being added to the long list of persons that has been implicated in the accusation against the Speaker. Nandlall bluntly denied any involvement. “The AFC has received information that apart from the involvement of the staff, the Senior Government official was himself directly involved in the falsification of the allegations levelled against Mr Trotman and the overall scheme to tarnish his reputation,” he said in a statement.

Attorney-at-Law Jaya Manickchand , who is the sister of Education Minister Priya Manickchand, has also denied being part of a scheme against Trotman. While she has denied meeting Welshman on this occasion, she has acknowledged exploring the possibility of the Speaker privately compensating Welshman and offering an apology.

Trotman, who is the AFC’s co-founder, earlier Friday participated in a news conference at which the allegation was leveled against the Attorney General.  The House Speaker has reiterated his innocence of the sexual assault allegation by 22-year old Johnny Anthony Welshman who said the acts were committed on him when he was 13 years.

The Attorney General admitted speaking with the House Speaker by telephone on Tuesday September 23 long after the allegations of sexual misconduct were made public. He said that as a result of that conversation, he made certain inquiries of the professional staff at the Attorney -General’s  Chambers. 

Nandlall said that those enquiries revealed that Welshman- “whom to date I have never seen or spoken with”- met  State Counsel , Ms. Leslyn Noble at the said Chambers. The Attorney General said that he learnt that Welshman and Noble had known each other long before and were acquainted somewhat.

Nandlall said he was never present at or authorized that meeting and that he was unaware of the reason for the engagement and the content of the discussion. “I did not solicit any information regarding the nature of the discussion which took place thereof because I formed the opinion that it was of a personal nature,” said the Attorney General.

Nandlall did not address the AFC’s specific allegation that the officer had directed Welshman to meet with Attorney-at-Law Manickchand.

He described as “unfortunate that in their quest to extricate their own, from this morass , the AFC is prepared to implicate so many others.”

The AFC General Secretary accused the Attorney General of directing Welshman of seeking legal representation.

According to that party, Welshman’s allegations are nothing more than a scheme to avert the impending no confidence motion.

The AFC theorized that the allegations were aimed at removing Trotman from the Speakership in a bid to delay debate and eventual passage of the motion.

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) intends to add its 26 seats to the AFC to pass the motion in the House where the government has a one-seat minority.

When approved, President Donald Ramotar and his Cabinet would have to resign and call general elections within 90 days or a time-frame agreed to by the 65-seat House.