City Hall sexual assault fiascoBy Lakhram BhagiratThe two Constabulary officers dismissed by City Hall, are expected to be reinstated and then sent on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation of the alleged sexual assault on a minor and dereliction of duty, by the Legal Affairs and Security Committee of the municipality. This action comes following a letter to the Town Clerk by Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan last week.Corporal Quacy Baveghems claimed that he witnessed a Lance Corporal of the City Constabulary engaged in a sexual act with a minor in August. The incident allegedly occurred when a 15-year-old boy was taken into custody on August 17, 2017, and placed before the court on a charge of wandering. At some point during his detention, for reasons unknown, the minor was transferred to the Regent Street Outpost where the alleged incident occurred between August 22 and 23.Mayor Patricia Chase Green addressing the CouncilThe alleged perpetrator was dismissed for gross misconduct while Baveghems, who claims that he witnessed the assault, was also given the boot after he failed to report the matter to the relevant authorities.Although the incident occurred in August, it was never reported to the Police until October 17. The matter was also brought to the attention of the M&CC’s Legal Affairs and Security Committee after one month and City Hall has been since accused of covering up the incident. There have also been calls for Town Clerk Royston King to be disciplined as well, since he knew of the incident and ‘interviewed’ the victim but failed to report it.However, there have been protests by civil society and some Councillors who claimed that Baveghems was wrongfully terminated, and as such, called for his reinstatement. The disgruntled Corporal wrote to President David Granger and Minister Bulkan voicing his dissatisfaction with the treatment meted out to him.Bulkan has since written to Town Clerk, Royston King, indicating that due process was not taken and that Baveghems should be allowed a fair hearing to answer to the allegations.“It is important that you note that the Ministry of Communities will not condone unfair and/or wrongful treatment meted out to employees of any Local Democratic Organ, and will endeavor to safeguard their employment and natural justices,” Bulkan wrote.“It is clear that at the time of Mr Baveghems’ dismissal, the Legal Affairs and Security Committee (of the city) was in the process of investigating the matter brought to its attention and had not yet completed its work…further, there is no mention that the Minutes provided were placed before the Legal Affairs and Security Committee for confirmation and signature by the Chairman, in accordance with Section 66 of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Cap 28:01. Therefore, your actions may be deemed as ultra vires since the Legal Affairs and Security Committee was not given the opportunity to complete its responsibilities, neither was the Committee allowed to report its findings and make recommendations to the Council,” the Minister added.The Mayor’s responseIn response to the letter, Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green called an Extraordinary Statutory Meeting on Tuesday to discuss the way forward. During the meeting, she related that her office got wind of the matter on the morning of August 23 when Chief Constable Andrew Foo related the incident. Foo informed that he received a report that Lance Corporal (name given) was involved in a matter in the Inquiries Office of the City Constabulary.“The Inquiries Office is a big open space, I said what did you (Foo) do, he said nothing. I put down the phone and then I called him back and asked him to repeat what he said and he said Madam Mayor, Corporal Baveghems reported to me that he saw Corporal (name given) having sex with this boy…I said that he was supposed to be locked up because if someone is having sex in the open then they should be locked up. I said to investigate the matter and to send a report to me,” Chase Green said.She noted that the report was never presented to her until after the matter appeared in the press. The Mayor said that when she got the report it was in parts with several key links missing. The report stated that the accusations, levelled against the Lance Corporal, should be accepted since he was involved in a matter of similar nature. It also recommended that the Corporal be charged with neglect of duty and that the incident be referred to the Legal Affairs Committee.“The questions arise and I ask the question of the Chief Constable, when Mr Baveghems saw this act did he come in? He left the prosecutions department, a little room, came out and has to pass a big door, the inquiries door, and these two persons are allegedly having sex in the inquiries room and went to the window on Regent Street to peep. He stood there and allowed the sex act to be performed to completion, to the point where he saw where the Corporal take off the condom and come outside,” the Mayor related.She stated that she was informed that it was Baveghems who arrested the minor and was never taken to court until August 22, where he was charged for loitering. However, the Magistrate indicated that the minor was supposed to be charged with wandering and the case was dismissed.“If the case was dismissed, tell me on what basis was he brought back here to spend the night; he should have been released into the care of his guardian,” she questioned.The Mayor indicated that the report clearly stated that the Corporal was the one on the receiving end of the alleged sexual act.“I was told…this is not the Corporal having sex with the juvenile, it is the juvenile having sex with the Corporal. A boy of 15, and you (Baveghems) did nothing. My concern is why did the Chief Constable release the boy because in the boy’s statement he said that ‘if I see the man I could identify he’; you got a right as Chief Constable to call that man and arrest him,” she said.She added that justice was not done to the minor who is yet to be examined and determine whether he is suffering from any trauma.After the Mayor finished making her statement, Legal Affairs and Securities Committee member, Councillor Akeem Peter told the meeting that judging from the evidence, the Committee says the story does not add up, as they are yet to determine who is really the victim. He then made the suggestion that the officers be sent on administrative leave just to appease the Minister.At this point, Councillor Oscar Clarke stated that the incident was handled badly from the start and supported Peter’s suggestion and in the end, Town Clerk Royston King, who indicated he would act accordingly, agreed to it.The Police investigation is still ongoing and the accused has been released on bail.