Broomes scandal: Ally says Ministers must observe the rules, Harmon says “no comment”

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Government Minister Simona Broomes Thursday afternoon refused to say whether she will apologise to the security guards with whom she had a confrontation in the parking lot of the New Thriving Restaurant, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD) on Sunday, July 8.

In fact, the Minister pleaded ignorance of the situation, saying: “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when she was questioned by media operatives as she arrived for today’s sitting of the National Assembly.

Two security guards were arrested and subsequently released after Broomes claimed that they pointed a gun in her direction, threatening her life.

But security footage of what transpired contradicted the Minister’s allegations and in fact revealed that she and her driver aggressively attempted to remove “no parking signs” to facilitate her vehicle.

General Secretary of the People’s Nationals Congress Reform (PNC/R) Amna Ally has since made it clear, however, that everyone, regardless of their status in society, must obey rules and regulations.

“For me I would say that all and sundry must observe the rule of law, whether you’re a minister or an ordinary person. That is what is expected,” Ally stated.

Ally, who is also the Minister of Social Protection, declined to comment exactly on the Broomes scandal, saying that she has better things to do than to watch the video and that she cannot trust the “hearsay”.

Ally, who also holds the portfolio of Government Chief Whip, does not believe the issue will put a dent in the public’s image of the Government.

PNC/R Vice Chairperson, Volda Lawrence has since apologized to one of the security guards, but today she declined to say whether she believes Broomes should follow suit.

“Minister Broomes will make her own decision…I am not Minister Broomes’ lawyer and I am quite certain Minister Broomes will make her statement,” Lawrence, who serves as Minister of Public Health, stated.

Lawrence, who is currently vying for the second highest elected position in the PNC/R, denied that her apology to the security guard was to score political points.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and the Security guard (Photo taken from Minister Lawrence’s Facebook page)

“Go into the community and speak to the people. I am who I am and I am not going to change because I am a minister or not a minister or chair or not the chair. I am Volda Lawrence, humble and polite,” she stated.

Asked whether she believes Minister Broomes’ action is a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, Minister Lawrence responded: “what code of conduct? Why don’t you ask her?”

On the other hand, Minister of State Joseph Harmon refused to comment on the situation.

Broomes is openly campaigning for Harmon to win the chairmanship of the PNC/R.

When asked to comment on the issue, Minister Harmon expressed: “It’s a police matter and it is inappropriate for a minister to be making a statement at this point. Let the police do their work.”

Crime Chief (ag) Paul Williams has since defended the Minister and according to an article in the State newspaper, today contended that security guards need to be better trained to deal with high-level officials.

He insinuated that persons in luxurious vehicles are allowed to bend the rules as opposed to those who drive a “Premio or 212”.

When asked to comment on this bias, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan offered “no comment”.

Former Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, however, asserted that: “I think he [Crime Chief] is varying the rules to suit the Minister which is political. I don’t agree with that. Rules are there to be observed.”

Former Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee

This is not the first time Minister Broomes landed herself in hot water for her conduct.

Previously, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland reprimanded her for bringing the House into disrepute for filming a parody video in the Chambers.

The Code of Conduct for Public Officials clearly states that “a person in public life shall, in the execution of his or her official functions, conduct themselves in a manner which engenders the respect of their peers and the public.”

It also states that “a person in public life owes a duty to the public and shall consider themselves servants of the people.”

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