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Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, Roysdale Forde, SC, is demanding the Government release the report from the India authorities that a thorough investigation was conducted into the matter between Ms. Sonya Ghosh and Mr. Charrandass Persaud and the findings of assault are without merit.
The senior counsel told Village Voice the government has a credibility problem and nothing they say must be taken at face value. He is therefore demanding the “release of the report Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, is referring to that claimed the India authorities said Ms. Ghosh’s complaint has not been substantiated.” That would be a good starting point to establishing credibility, he said.
In the compliant written by Ghosh to the Station Officer, New Delhi, which subject line states ‘Criminal Complaint against Charrandas Persaud, for sexually harassing and outraging & insulting the modesty of the undersigned,’ the academic and activist stated that she was “sexually harassed & her modesty was outraged & insulted by an individual who identifies himself as Charrandass Persaud, Guyana’s High Commissioner to India, residing at 339 Church Road, Vasant Kunj…on August 1, 2021.”
In the video seen by the public, Persaud was verbally attacking Ghosh in the vilest of manner, including issuing sexual directive, in the lewdest of language, about what the complainant should do with the dog that apparently caused his anger.
When the video went viral on Tuesday, the government’s first response was denial by way of a statement from Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd. According to the statement, the Ghosh/Persaud matter was “brought to the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs of India by High Commissioner Persaud, was fully investigated by the relevant authorities and a formal response to the High Commissioner dated September 3, 2022 indicates that ‘allegation of sexual abusive words to complainant has [sic] not been substantiated.’”
The question that presents itself here is what was the nature of the question or inquiry of the High Commissioner that the relevant authorities were responding to that provoked this “formal response to the High Commissioner dated September 3, 2022…?”
Was it the content of the video circulating on social media, or was it the content of the First Information Report (FIR) pursuant to Ms. Ghosh’s complaint?
Did the High Commissioner, himself, request an investigation of the complaint made against him, or was it his complaint about the video of his vile behaviour, forever memorialised on the internet, circulating on social media that was his concern, and of which he sought an investigation?
Whatever it might be, Forde said, Persaud must also place for public scrutiny the statement he allegedly made to the Ministry of External Affairs, concerning the matter.
“Or, at the very least, the report of the Indian Police authorities clearing him of any wrongdoing alleged in this sordid affair should be available for public scrutiny. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot seek to hide behind the veil of diplomatic confidentiality in a matter of such grave criminal behaviour of one of our senior diplomats, committed in the host country against a citizen of that country!”
The very nature of this gross and egregious diplomatic, and alleged criminal misconduct has taken it outside the pale of a private matter, to that of an issue of national concern and import as it now implicates our national ethos and proclaimed values, and the international stature of our nation, he said.
As such, he declared, all Guyanese must be brought up to date with what transpired from the moment the incident occurred on August 1, 2021 to September 3, 2022 when the Government said “this matter [was] closed.” Forde said the matter is certainly not closed as he demands the Irfaan Ali Government come clean on this matter they are seeking to bury. According to the Member of Parliament, Guyanese are not fools and know when they are being lied to.