City Hall sexual assault…law prevents City Hall from disciplining officersCity Hall’s Legal Affairs and Security Committee have recommended that Chief Constable Andrew Foo and ASP Virjanand Gafur, the supervisor of investigations, be sent on 14 days leave for serious neglect of duty in relation to their roles in investigating sexual assault involving a minor at the City Constabulary.The committee recently concluded their investigation, and tabled the report at Monday’s Statutory Meeting.Chief Constable Andrew FooCorporal Quacy Baveghems claimed that he witnessed Lance Corporal Clifton Pellew of the City Constabulary engage in a sexual act with a minor in August. The incident allegedly occurred when a 15-year-old lad was taken into custody on August 17 and placed before the court on a charge of wandering. At some point during his detention, and for reasons unknown, the minor was transferred to the Regent Street Outpost, where the alleged incident occurred between August 22 and 23.With respect to the alleged sexual assault, the committee recommended that the council be guided by the outcome of the investigations being conducted by the Guyana Police Force. The Police have said that their investigations are currently ongoing.The report stated that the Committee expressed an alarming concern about the breaches of the Standard Operational Procedures at all levels of the City Constabulary and General Administration.As it relates to Corporal Baveghems, the committee found that he had failed to record the alleged incident as well as his departure time in the station diary; and he had failed to inform the duty officer of the incident. As a result, the committee recommended that he be strongly reprimanded.The Chief Constable is head of the City Police establishment, and during the deliberations, the committee recognised several alarming shortcomings of the Chief Constable, Foo, in the execution of his duties.“Failure to take immediate and decisive actions in accordance with the Standard Operational Procedure; having knowledge of an alleged sexual offence within the precinct of the City Constabulary and not reporting same to the Guyana Police Force; failure to report the matter to the Child Care and Protection Agency of the Ministry of Social Protection; having knowledge that the incident involved a juvenile (15yrs), he failed to maintain the protective custody of the child and his rights by sending him to the Town Clerk’s Office,” the report stated.“The Committee recommends fourteen (14) days suspension in accordance with the Municipal and District Councils Act, chapter 28:01, section 134(h): ‘Neglect of duty or orders’,” the recommendation stated.The Committee also recommended that the ranks be trained in dealing with investigations.Addressing the Council, Chairman of the Committee, Sherod Duncan, said the Municipal and District Councils Act, chapter 28:01 dictates that City Hall would be unable to discipline the officers, since they are paid over $18,000 per annum.“Now everybody (earning) above $18,000 per annum would have to submit themselves to be disciplined through the Local Government Commission….the legal advice is that the recommendations and report be submitted to the Local Government Commission for an investigation and determination of the matter,” Duncan stated.He added that it was also advised that Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan review the specific sections of the act that address the issue of $18,000 per annum.Additionally, the Committee recommended that CCPA and Child Link provide training on child abuse and sexual offences, CCTV be placed within the Constabulary, a sexual offence and child abuse policy be developed, and that Police training be provided for handling sexual matters.Baveghems and Pellew remain on administrative leave.