‘It wasn’t me’

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Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder

-Min Holder distances self from assault rumours

MINISTER of Agriculture Noel Holder on Thursday refuted allegations that the wife of a male employee of his Ministry was sexually assaulted by a government Minister stationed there (his ministry) Monday. The matter was brought to the fore by a letter writer, Arnold Sanasie.

But Minister Holder speaking at a press conference called to address the issue, made it clear that no report of such nature was made nor brought to his attention. The letter writer said the alleged victim was assaulted by the Minister “whose office is in Kingston”. The woman according to the Sanasie visited the Ministry to conduct business.

“On arriving at the Ministry of Agriculture, she was directed to an office. On entering the office, she was assaulted by the Minister. In putting up a fight and resisting his advances, there was a commotion. The commotion in the office caused other staff members to rush to the office. Had the staff members not rushed to the office, Editor, the woman would have been raped,” the letter writer stated.

However, Minister Holder made it clear that it did not happen at his Ministry and he was not involved. “As far as the incident that is reported, I cannot see it involving this ministry. I have had no reports from either the administration of the ministry or the security that any incident of this nature occurred within this compound”, he explained.

Additionally, the Agriculture Minister made it clear that no other minister visited his Regent Street office Monday as stated by the letter writer. “As far as I am aware no other minister came to this ministry to see me on Monday and I am certainly aware that there is no office in this ministry that any other minister occupies”, he stated. However, Sanasie in his missive claimed that the “terrified woman rushed out of the office. Another staff member recognised her as the wife of a Ministry of Agriculture staff member and advised her to leave. The Minister was abusive to the staff members also.”

He noted too that after rushing to her car and driving away, the woman was followed by the Minister which resulted in him (the Minister) crashing into the woman’s vehicle on Shiv Chanderpaul drive. “It is God’s grace that the woman was not alone when all of this occurred,” the letter writer stated.

Asked why he decided to speak out on the matter, given that the Ministry’s surveillance footage indicates no such activities occurring within the premises, Holder said, “Things of this nature can sully a person’s reputation. I have had a good reputation all of my life for 72 years and I don’t want it sullied now. I am also aware that things of this nature could go viral, and very often once it gets into the public arena it’s very difficult to remove this stain and attempt to put a smear on your character.”

Meanwhile, Director of Public Information, Imran Khan said the letter writer is unknown but said, “We have made contact with an Arnold Sanassie; I can’t say how many Arnold Sanassie’s there are in Guyana but there is an Arnold Sanassie who we have made contact with and who has denied any knowledge of this letter and we also have information that the name Arnold Sanassie has been used a few years ago by who we understand to be some political elements to create mischief.”