Last Updated on Thursday, 27 July 2023, 17:44 by Denis Chabrol
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton on Thursday weighed in on the police investigation into former government minister and serving opposition parliamentarian David Patterson’s alleged exposure of his genitals and other offences.
Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Assistant Commissioner Wendell Blanhum told Demerara Waves Online News the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommended that Mr Patterson be charged with exposing of the genitals in violation of the Sexual Offences Act, using obscene language and provoking a breach of the peace.
The former Minister of Public Infrastructure under the APNU+Alliance For Change-led administration is due to be arraigned in court on Friday.
If convicted summarily for the sexual offence that Mr Patterson has been cited, he could be fined GY$500,000 and imprisoned for two years and if convicted on an indictable charge, he could be imprisoned for five years.
At a news conference earlier Thursday, the Opposition Leader accused the government and the police of discriminating against him politically compared to alleged special efforts to avoid then Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall from being charged with rape of a 16-year old girl. After days of investigation, the girl told police that she did not want to take any further action in the matter, prompting the DPP to advise police not to go ahead with the case.
“The political harassment of Member of Parliament Mr. David Patterson is one of the most recent manifestations of the PPP’s harassment of the Opposition,” Mr Norton said. He added that the granting of GY$200,000 station bail to Mr Patterson for “this minor offence” is “clearly an act of political harassment.”
Vice President Jagdeo, for his part, criticised Mr Norton’s stance, arguing that the video evidence was clearly not in Mr Patterson’s favour. “I’m shocked that Norton would actually defend Patterson in the face of the evidence and say that the police that they’re harassing Patterson. Now, there is video evidence to what he did,” Mr Jagdeo, who is also the People’s Progressive Party’s General Secretary, told a news conference. Mr Jagdeo described the occurrence as “obscene” rather than a mistake. “I don’t know if it’s a sense of power or stupidity,” he said.
Mr Jagdeo objected to Mr Norton’s comparison of the police and other agencies’ treatment of the Dharamlall matter.