UG bomb threat suspect charged

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Sheliza Jafferally, called “Shelly”

— to make court appearance today

THE University of Guyana (UG) student arrested in relation to alleged bomb threats made at the university last week is expected to appear in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court today, to answer to the charge of misuse of a telecommunication device.

The charge comes under the Telecommunications Act of Guyana and states, that a person found guilty for false or dangerous telecommunications can be liable on summary conviction to up to $2M in fines and six months imprisonment.

According to Article 71 (1) of the Act: “A person who, by means of a telecommunications network or a telecommunications service, willfully circulates or otherwise transmits any telecommunication that is false, deceptive or misleading, or that materially endangers the physical safety of any other person, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $250,000 nor more than two million dollars and, to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months.”

On February 5 and 6, 2019, bomb threats were reportedly made to the university’s Turkeyen Campus, forcing the cancellation of classes. Classes are expected to resume today.

The Police Force, through its commissioner, deputy crime chief and a team of officers, met with members of the UG administration and days later arrested UG student, Sheliza Jafferally.

According to a source, based on the investigations conducted by the police, a telephone number belonging to the student is linked to the number from which the bomb threats allegedly were made to the university.

Jafferally, who goes by the nickname ‘Shelly’, is the niece of former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Region Six Member of Parliament (MP) and current Region Five Campaign Manager Faizal Jafferally.

The university’s administration following the scares had shut its doors. The threats came even as a string of online threats directed at several city schools have been ongoing for weeks.

These threats were initially made against the School of the Nations, and resulted in the school’s director being shot in both arms while he was entering his home.

The threats to the university were taken seriously as students and staff evacuated campus, while a $1M reward has been offered, for anyone with information regarding the threats made to School of the Nations.

The Guyana Chronicle had reported last week that there were concerns about the rhetoric of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, expressing that there would be no business as usual while threatening to “ratchet up” the pressure on the government and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) over the holding of early elections.

On the same day that Jagdeo made the threats, there was a bomb threat at the University of Guyana.
Asked to respond to this apparent coincidence on Thursday at his news conference, Jagdeo brushed aside the concerns saying that the “PPP was taking the high moral ground”.
He said that his party was not preaching violence or polarisation, “That is where we will always stand”.

According to an online news agency, the family of Jafferally noted that the young lady vehemently denies making the threat.

The family has hired an attorney to clear her name and believes that the public is too hasty to cast judgement on the young woman.