Fear has begun to grip Caldwell after alleged rape cases came to light in the densely populated community.Women of Caldwell are in confusion, wondering who could be the next victim or who are the two men accused of raping two women recently or why such a cold-hearted act is being committed at all.“Now, all the women in my yard go indoors before it gets dark because we are scared. No arrest has been made but do the police even know where to begin looking for the rapist?” questioned Ma Hawa, a neighbor living close to the victims.Seated near the house where the two women were allegedly raped on April 13, at around 4:00am, sat one of the victims. Wrapped in a blanket, she sits starring at men who lounged around smoking, drinking palm wine and having a loud conversation.Turning slightly to rise from her seat, tears could be seen running down her face as she walked back towards her room.She’s still in fear.“I want the government to help me find the identical person who did this to me, who raped us,” she pleaded.Rape in CaldwellThe victims, who say they have a clue as to who one of their assaulters is, also say they’ve never been sexually assaulted before now.“People say all kinds of things to justify why they think I was raped, like I’m too proud, always acting as if no man can have me. Is that the reason why I should be raped?” one of the victims sadly questioned.According to the women who were also robbed of over USD100.00 they went for a rape test right after the incident and ran across four other rape victims waiting to be tested on April 13.“One was a three year old child from Caldwell. They were able to catch the man who did it because he was seen holding the child,” stated the landlady of the two rape victims, who was also responsible for reporting the case.According to sources at Zone 7 Base in Caldwell, there have been numerous rape cases in the past year in the community, but none was ever committed during an armed robbery.Caldwell is in confusion.Criminals and DrugsThe commissioner of Caldwell, Alexine M. Howard, was reinstated as the commissioner of Caldwell last week. She has over her term ordered drug-infested ghetto’s to be raided, criminals arrested and street sellers selling on the sidewalks fined.According to a source working closely with the township, the commissioner has been unrelenting in trying to reduce the crime rate in Caldwell, but to no avail.Also, the source that wants to stay anonymous says that the commissioner’s life and property have been threatened as a result of her zero tolerance for crime and drugs.“Way before Ebola, we tried catching all the dealers and criminals to get them out of here, but the noise and threats that they aimed at us caused us to stop for a period of time,” the source added,“Now that our commissioner has her position back, she plans to get back to work immediately,” she added.Meanwhile, there are over five makeshift places where ‘drugs’ are sold, three of which house alleged ‘criminals.’A woman living around three drug spots located in the same feet of one another said she has had to move from a house she built because the ‘criminals’ tormented her.“Once I had to call the police to come to my rescue,” the woman added. “I’ve also notified DEA several times about the ‘drug’ activities.”Meanwhile, information circulating around Caldwell market, states that a drug spot stands right in the yard where the women were allegedly raped. Though one man has been accused of committing the crime, the victims say the drug activity there continues to go on.“They sell ‘drugs’ there all day and mingle with us living in the house whenever they need water, or food,” added the landlady.The victims say a suspect was recently arrested after they identified him, but later released because there was no conclusive evidence to hold him. The man’s accusers admitted they did not see his face, but could only identify him by his voice, body odor and build. However the women still insist that the man arrested was one of the rapists. They also claim to have turned over to the police the bed sheet on which they were allegedly raped, to test for specimen that could link the suspect to the crime.There has been no confirmation from the LNP at the time of publication of their allegations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– as AG decries slow pace of investigationInvestigations into discrepancies in the National School Feeding Programme are grinding along, with sources informing Guyana Times that some Police Officers who were handling the case were at one point transferred.A group of students enjoying lunch at the Shulinab Primary School, South Central Rupununi, Region NineWhile the Police Officers have been transferred, it is unclear if this was a routine rotation or a punitive act. Efforts to contact top officials in the Guyana Police Force (GPF) were futile. When contacted, Auditor General Deodat Sharma informed this publication that the investigation should have been completed by now.“I don’t know why it’s taking so long … I’m not very satisfied with that. We need to put a close to that aspect of it. I think they’re taking too long, because it was an area that was very clear-cut. I don’t know what’s happening there,” Sharma said.The National School Feeding Programme targets all nursery and primary school students in Grades One and Two. It was implemented in Regions One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and 10 and Georgetown. Regions Seven, Eight and Nine are treated separately. The meals consist of biscuits and juices.But the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the education sector, which was completed since 2017, had recommended that an investigation be launched into the Feeding Programme to ensure Government was getting value for money.Following this recommendation, State Auditors had embarked on this very investigation targeting the Programme. They had reportedly found major “spending” inconsistencies plaguing the Programme in two remote villages in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) during the period 2016-2017.Notwithstanding the lofty ideals of the Programme, coordinators in the red-flagged region have reportedly been abusing the responsibility and power vested in them. Particular scrutiny was brought to bear on the expenditures for each meal and that revealed costs were inflated. This had raised further queries as to whether the correct procurement procedures were followed during the award of the contracts.Millions of dollars ($1.3 billion and $1.9 billion in 2016 and 2017 respectively) were injected into the initiative, which was implemented in the 10 administrative regions following its re-launch in 2010 by former President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.According to media reports, funds allocated to the Feeding Programme for the Kato Secondary School were even diverted to other areas.Still unaccounted forWhen it was released last year, the AG’s 2017 report had found that $52.5 million was still unaccounted for in the controversial programme. It was noted that State auditors examined the records of 11 schools in Regions Seven and Nine. Some $73.6 million was allocated to the programme in those schools which was supposed to go towards feeding 2189 students.But the report revealed that key documentation, such as bank reconciliation statements, was not presented to the auditors. As such, the AG could not even determine whether the sum, which was received by eight schools, was ever deposited into the bank in one lump sum.“The absence of this key control measure can lead to the perpetration of wrongdoing, without prompt detection,” the report notes, while adding that there was no evidence of supervisory checks of cash books by the management committee in three of the schools.“Supervisory checks were also absent in the stock ledgers and goods received book for six schools in Region Nine … the safeguarding of public funds was compromised. Moreover, cash was kept in the personal possession of the treasurers in eight schools. This unsatisfactory situation could lead to the perpetration of wrongdoing,” the report states.In its response, the Ministry acknowledged the AG’s findings, but it was pointed out that the programme itself was in the process of being transitioned from central management to community-based management.