Guyana recalls High Commissioner in India amidst sexual harassment scandal

The Guyana government Thursday announced that it is recalling its High Commissioner in India Charrandas Persaud, even as Georgetown had earlier indicated that “allegations of sexual abusive words” levelled against the diplomat had “not been substantiated”.

In a broadcast, President Irfaan Ali said he had spoken with the High Commissioner who related to him “that this is an incident that occurred sometime in August last year and the video is not a full reflection of what took place…

“He informed me that the video was not complete in demonstrating exactly what took place. Notwithstanding this I explained to Mr. Charrandas that representatives of our country must on every occasion conduct themselves in the highest order and regard,” President Ali said, adding that the diplomat had communicated to him “that this matter was dealt with by the relevant agencies and authorities in India”.

President Irfaan Ali announcing the recall of Guyana’s High Commissioner in India, Charrandas Persaud, amid sexual harassment scandal (CMC Photo)

He said Persaud said “there was no evidence of any misconduct, and as a matter of fact, he was cleared of any accusation of sexual harassment. He also shared with me the letter that substantiated this statement.

“Notwithstanding all of this, Mr. Charrandas agreed with me that in keeping with the best interest of Guyana and the image of Guyana that he would return home from his posting in India. I want to assure all Guyanese that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government of Guyana will continue to work every day to strengthen our relationships, not only with India, but with every other partner across the globe”.

Ali said the outgoing High Commissioner has agreed “to take full responsibility for his action and will return home from this posting.

“We are therefore going to take all official steps and measures to ensure a smooth transition and continue to strengthen our work with India and to work on advancing the cause of Guyana in every capital,” Ali added.

Earlier in a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it  had been “aware of material circulating on social media” relating to allegations made against Persaud, regarding an incident which occurred on August 1, 2021 on the premises of the High Commissioner’s residence.

According to the posting on the social media, a 63-year-old woman claimed she was “sexually harassed & her modesty was outraged & insulted by an individual who identifies himself as Charrandas Persaud, Guyana’s High Commissioner to India”.

The reports said that the woman is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, CVS, Delhi University and that the event transpired on the evening of August 1, 2021, when she was out feeding stray dogs along with her driver and two helpers as is her daily routine.

In the lengthy social media post, the authorities are being urged to “initiate criminal proceedings against the harasser”.

But in its statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that “this matter, brought to the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs of India by High Commissioner Persaud, was fully investigated by the relevant authorities and a formal response to the High Commission dated September 3, 2022 indicates that “allegations of sexual abusive words to complainant has [sic] not been substantiated”.

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