No bail for bomb-threat suspect

Sheneza Jafferally, called Diane (Photo by Delano Williams)

…police preparing other charges against her

A TWENTY-five-year-old University of Guyana (UG) student was, on Monday, February 11, 2019, arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan, for allegedly issuing bomb threats to the university.

Sheneza Jafferally, called Diane, of Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara, who is employed at Yello Guyana Inc. as a sales representative, pleaded not guilty to the charge of misuse of a telecommunication device. Particulars of the charge alleged that on February 5, 2019, at Cummings Lodge, Jafferally sent – by means of a public telecommunication device system, for the purpose of causing needless anxiety to the staff and students of the UG – a message which she knew to be false.

Jafferally’s attorney, Latchmi Rahamat, made an application for bail on the grounds that her client was kept by the police beyond the 72 hours. Rahamat argued that Jafferally denied the allegation when it was put to her by the police. “There is no evidence that shows that my client made any threats to the University of Guyana” the attorney stressed.
Additionally, Jafferally’s cell phone and all the electronic devices in her Cummings Lodge home were confiscated by the police. Police Prosecutor, Inspector Gordon Mansfield, objected to Jafferally being granted her pre-trial liberty since she intended to spread public terror and the nature of the charge was very serious.

The prosecutor told the court that another allegation, similar in nature, was currently being investigated against Jafferally. The chief magistrate, on the grounds of public safety, remanded Jafferally to prison until February 18, 2019, when the matter will be recalled at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court.

On February 5 and 6, 2019, bomb threats were reportedly made to the university’s Turkeyen Campus, forcing the cancellation of classes. Classes were expected to resume yesterday (Monday, February 11, 2019).

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

According to a source, based on the investigations conducted by the police, a telephone number belonging to the student was linked to the number from which the bomb threats were allegedly made to the university.
Jafferally, who goes by the nickname ‘Shelly’ and ‘Diane’, 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 scare, had shut its doors. The threats came even as a string of online threats directed at several city schools had been on-going 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 the campus, while a $1M reward has been offered for anyone with information regarding the threats made to School of the Nations.

The charge filed against Jafferally comes under the Telecommunications Act of Guyana and states that; “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 two hundred fifty thousand dollars nor more than two million dollars and to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months.”