One of the more saddening features of the current violent crisis in Venezuela is the absolute lack of contrition by all combatants despite their respective appeals for a peaceful resolution.
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I told investigators the truth
In the presence of her attorneys, the key witness in the alleged assault of businesswoman Sacha Singh by former tourism minister Chandresh Sharma gave chief investigating officer Insp Naim Gyan a detailed report of the March 12 incident. She said she told the officer the truth about what occurred during the incident.
After giving her side of the story to Gyan on Thursday, the witness, a secondary school teacher, disclosed to the Guardian that she signed a detailed statement in the presence of her attorneys, Prof Rajendra Ramlogan and Johnathon Jagessar. For an hour, the 53-year-old witness said, she was grilled by Gyan at the office of one of the attorneys in St Augustine. Asked if, having signed a statement, she would be willing to testify in court, she told the T&T Guardian, “Well, I do not know if I may have to. I don’t know.”
The witness was present during the spat between Sharma and Singh on March 12 in the cark park of Grand Bazaar, Valsayn. The squabble and alleged assault are now the subject of a police investigation. Sharma resigned from his ministerial post after calls from leader of the Congress of the People Prakash Ramadhar and Fixin’ T&T for him to step down or be fired.
His resignation came a week after minister of the people Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh was fired by Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar after allegations of disorderly behaviour on board a Caribbean Airlines flight from Tobago. Ramadharsingh now has fresh allegations against him. The witness said she was satisfied with the way Gyan conducted the interview. “I just spoke the truth,” was all she said about her statement. Asked if the police intended to do follow-up interviews, the witness replied, “I do not think so.”
Asked if she saw Sharma slapping and pushing Singh on March 12, the witness said: “Everything is in the report out there. I do not wish to comment any more because my lawyers advised me that I should just handle the report as it will come and that kind of thing.” She thanked the T&T Guardian for not identifying her in a series of published articles.
“Thanks so much for not calling my name. The fact that I am a schoolteacher and that I deal with students and parents and that kind of thing ... even now one teacher asked me this morning if I would consider taking a transfer from the school. “I don’t see why I should, because I did not do anything wrong in the story. I mean, I should have thought more, you know, in a better manner about putting my 12-year-old child in a situation like that, and being a teacher myself.”
The witness said she never intended for things to unfold the way they did. “I did not intend for anything bad. I never thought it would have reached a national whatever.” Contacted on the matter, ASP Joanne Archie, police public information officer, was unable to say when Sharma would be interviewed
Singh, the managing director of AMS Biotech Security Concept and AmSure T&T Ltd, met with St Joseph police on March 28, when she gave a statement on Sharma’s alleged physical abuse outside the mall. Sharma had agreed to meet Singh there. In the back seat of Singh’s car were a 12-year-old girl, alleged to have been fathered by Sharma, and the child’s mother. It is alleged an argument began between Sharma and the woman and Singh was slapped across the face and pushed when she tried to intervene.
Singh fell back, hit her head on her car and blacked out for several minutes. After regaining consciousness, Singh said, she was told Sharma helped to revive her. Singh went home and the following day was diagnosed as having suffered a mild concussion and haematoma (swelling of the brain) during the incident. She then reported the matter to Sgt Ogiste at the St Joseph Police Station.