Minister Kellawan Lall rumshop gun brawl
Close to a month after Local Government Minister Kellawan Lall allegedly gun-whipped a young man and fired off his weapon indiscriminately in a brawl near an East Coast Demerara rum shop, the authorities are yet to decide whether his actions were criminal.
Up to yesterday, Stabroek News could not elicit a comment from either the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) Chambers as to the status of the investigation.
Commander of ‘C’ Division Leroy Brummel had told this newspaper that detectives had completed a report which was sent to the DPP for advice. DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack has not made any ruling as yet and Stabroek News made numerous attempts to get a comment from her but was unsuccessful.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a press conference last month, said he was not going to sack the gun-toting minister, neither was he going to ask him to step aside to facilitate an investigation, as the minister was in not in the way.
A number of opposition parties and civic groups had called for the administration to take action against the minister who reportedly settled the matter with the teenager, Joseph Doodnauth, out of court.
Lall had allegedly gun-butted the teen in the forehead, fired off his gun and jammed him with his vehicle during a drunken row over a woman on November 18 at a bar at Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara.
Lall has since refused to comment on the issue in the media.
Jagdeo had also said at that press conference that he had a look at the police report and had a talk with Lall. He said the Commissioner of Police told him that neither party wanted to pursue the matter, but the issue of Lall discharging his weapon was being further investigated. Yesterday both the Commissioner of Police and the Commander of ‘C’ Division were unavailable.
A high-ranking police officer and members of the legal fraternity have argued that while Lall and Doodnauth could agree to settle the assault aspect of the case, with regard to the minister firing off his weapon it was left up to the DPP to decide on this. An official at the DPP’s Chambers said the case was being studied. Lall was asked to surrender his weapon to the police following the incident.
Doodnauth had told this newspaper in an interview that the minister has a relationship with his aunt who lives at Montrose. The young man said that on the night in question, the minister had picked up his aunt and they had gone to a barbecue at a bar at Vryheid’s Lust.
Doodnauth said he went to the barbecue sometime later with another relative and saw his aunt standing with the minister. He said he called her over, but after she had been standing with him for a while, the minister approached them and began using expletives. He said after cursing, the minister who had a bottle of Carib Beer in his hand left, but subsequently returned and cursed him again. After the minister did this for a third time, Doodnauth said, he became angry and rebuked him.
An argument ensued and the government official allegedly took out his firearm and hit the teenager on the forehead with it. It caused a deep wound, and with blood gushing down his face, Doodnauth said, he left the rum shop for his aunt’s home. The young man said he was pursued by the minister who drove his vehicle close to him and allegedly jammed him. He did not fall, but the minister emerged from his vehicle and allegedly fired several gunshots in the air. He also threatened him. Doodnauth said he and the minister had settled the matter, adding that it was a family issue.
Nothing ever became of this, the same minister was beaten up by different woman in another rumshop a few months later.