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….as lawyer files $150M lawsuit for slander
Organisations and individuals continue to condemn the alleged racial and physical abuse meted out to a policeman by attorney-at-law, Nirvan Singh even as her lawyer has filed a $150M lawsuit for slander.
Shawnette Bollers, a female Special Constable attached to the Guyana Police Force alleged that Singh abused her while she was keeping watch at Singh’s Father’s Cummings Street property. Singh’s father is former acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh.
In her claim, filed by attorney-at-law, Eusi Anderson Ms. Bollers is suing for GY$150 million for slander allegedly published orally by Mr. Singh on March 20, 2022. She noted that the lawyer used derogatory words to describe to wit he referred to her as “a monkey, a black monkey, you Black people have no purpose in life.”
Bollers said that she was at the time operating on guard duties at the Middle and Cummings Streets Georgetown home, owned by his father, Carl Singh who is a retired Chancellor of the Judiciary.
She alleged that at the time of the incident, Mr. Singh approached her and chased her out of her duties area and subsequently, off the property, forcing her to abandon her post and duties for the said night.
According the claim filed on behalf of Bollers, the lawyer used certain words in a “loud and aggressive manner which amount to defamation of character. “The willful malice in the slander is observed in the fact that he used these words to her whilst she was in uniform including full police regulation number and other police markings.”
Further, the female SC alleged that Mr. Singh’s behaviour amounted to “an absolute disregard for the authority of her uniform.”
Bollers’ claim explained that the words allegedly published by the attorney were untrue, maliciously uttered and undiluted falsehood, she said they expressly or by innuendo meant that she was not a human being of the homo sapien species and by extension not worthy of recognition in her humanity or human dignity.”
The policewoman said she believed that her race as a Black/ Negro person was not worthy of respect, is a group whose purpose and worthy of insult, was not worthy of respect, visibility and a human identity.
As such, she is also claiming exemplary damages.
The document outlined that, “Exemplary and aggravated damages are warranted, further, because of the nature of the comments in the context of slavery and its effect on Black people and the universally accepted norm that Black and monkey are derogatory terms forbidden from use on anything other than monkey and apes.”
Bollers in a letter issued by her lawyer had detailed the alleged abuse.
She accused Singh of spitting on her. She noted that, “in the dark of night, you unleashed an unprovoked, verbal tirade of racially charged insults to her saying, among other things, “monkey”, “black monkey”; Black people have no purpose in life and “get out, get off of my property.”
The letter said Singh was loud and aggressive and repeatedly violated the rank’s personal space by coming some two inches of her face to cause saliva droplets to touch her. On the same night, Singh was accused of chasing the rank from his residence and following her some distance away, “…further assaulting her, spitting at and on her and spewing vile words.”
Fearful for her life, the female rank reportedly fled the location and reported the matter to her superiors who despite her complaints caused her to return to Singh’s residence to continue her duties. It was said that on March 21, Singh’s father reportedly apologised to the rank on behalf of his son.
Meanwhile, a number of organisations have condemned the lawyer’s action. The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) said it is appalled by the incident in which policewoman, Shawnette Bollers, was the victim of a most vile and depraved racial attack by Attorney-at-law Nirvan Singh, while she was on guard duties at his premises on the night of March 20th.
The unprovoked attack involved an assault, repeated spitting, and a verbal tirade of racial insults, the party said in a statement. The woman’s employer the Guyana Police Force has remained silent on the matter and there is no indication whether they intend to investigate the attorney, whose father is the former Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh. “The racial insults hurled at Ms. Bollers do not bear repeating. But, understandably, the entire incident has left Ms. Bollers deeply traumatised.“
The PNCR said: “all Guyanese, we are sure, would join in condemning such offensive conduct. We call on the leadership of the Guyana Police Force to ensure the matter is not swept under the carpet and that Ms. Bollers receives all the support she needs to overcome her emotional distress. We call on the Guyana Bar Association to publicly condemn the conduct of its member and to impose appropriate sanctions. We also urge the Women and Gender Equality Commission and the Ethnic Relations Commission to fulfill their mandates by investigating this incident. We also expect all of civil society to add its voice in condemnation.”
The PNCR said the PPP/C must desist from creating conditions that result in Guyanese citizens being treated in this unacceptable manner. The silence of the PPP/C on this violation of the rights of Ms. Bollers is a clear indication of the PPP/C complicity in this heinous act. “As a country, we must work to ensure such abuses of persons based on their gender or race do not become normalized. We must relentlessly root out and reject all such behavior by anyone, but especially by those who believe they are privileged by their social status or political connections. The PNCR will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure Ms. Shawnette Bollers receives proper assistance and full justice.”
Adding it voice the African Community Development Association (ACDA) also condemned Singh’s actions. “We view spitting in the face of this African-Guyanese woman in 2022 Guyana as worse than similar actions of white slave makers to Africans. Attorney Nirvan Singh’s conduct has no place in Guyanese society and must be rejected by all Guyanese, regardless of race or class.”
According to ACDA it views this matter as not being isolated, but a symptom of a serious and expanding worsening of race relations in the country. “We condemn the leadership of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for its complicity by its failure to act as required by the law of the land. Guyana is a society based on the rule of law, and no citizen regardless of status or political connection is above the law.”
ACDA said it noted an apology from the older Singh, “…but the perpetrator remains unrepentant. Mr. Nirvan Singh is a conscious offender with no respect for decency and conduct befitting his profession as an officer of the court.” ACDA called on the Guyana Bar Association to take the necessary action against the Attorney for his alleged conduct.
The Association said too it notes “The rise of racial triumphalism since the return to office by the PPPC government. This racial, aggression must be stopped in the interest of national unity and peace. Those with the power to end this degenerative conduct must act now or accept responsibility for worsening race relations and the consequences. We demand that immediate charges be laid against Mr. Singh by the relevant authorities. Failure to do so will be viewed as a breakdown of the social contract that binds the society.”
The women’s arm of the Alliance For Change said it has taken note of the seeming reluctance of the Guyana Police Force to investigate the allegations made by Woman Constable ShawnetteBollers against Attorney-at-Law Nirvan Singh.
Bollers, an Afro Guyanese who has sworn to put her life on the line to protect and uphold the law has accused Singh of verbal and physical abuse including pursuing her calling her a ‘black monkey” and spitting on her. “The incident reportedly occurred at the residence of former Chancellor Carl Singh, a home shared by his son Navin Singh where Bollers were performing security duties.”
The AFC women’s arm said it is appalling that a young Guyanese woman who at night was keeping the home and person of the younger Singh safe, could have been treated in the contemptuous manner as alleged by Constable Bolers. “Nothing could have provoked such a reprehensible attack.
The women’s arm of the Alliance For Change has also noted the astounding silence of the Guyana Bar Association and the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers on the matter. The Associations have been known to comment on other matters and their silence here brings into question their motive and purpose.
The allegations points to a character unfit to serve at the Bar and it would have been prudent for the Bar Associations to call for an investigation and for the Attorney to provide reasons why he should not be disbarred. The accusations are very serious. Such behaviour shows a deviously racist individual totally lacking in moral fortitude and who should not be permitted to serve at the Bar. As officers of the Court, Attorneys are expected to be morally upright and have a duty to conduct themselves accordingly in and out of Court. WFC supports Constable Bollers to have this matter heard in Court and calls on the Bar Associations to look into the moral conduct of Attorney Singh.