Linden pageant scandalAs investigations continue into allegations of sexual assault involving a Linden Town Week (LTW) pageant delegate and a Linden businessman, the Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has said it is already taking steps to protect future delegates. According to the mayor, this will be done by the imposition of more stringent guidelines for fund-raising.From left: Deputy Mayor of Linden, Wainwright Bethune; Mayor Arindell, Linden Town Clerk (ag) Orleena Obermuller, and LM&TC Public Relations Officer Tiffany Stoll at the recent press briefingFollowing results of its preliminary internal investigation, the Council made a decision to cancel this year’s pageant, and crown delegates as “Linden Ambassadors”, to stand against all forms of abuse against women. The delegates are expected to lead a “Speak out, speak up” march on April 21.The allegation of sexual assault reported last month involved a delegate while on a visit to the businessman’s premises to seek sponsorship for participation in the pageant.During a recent media brief, Linden Mayor Waneka Arindell assured that the LMTC is working with law enforcement authorities to ensure no stone is left unturned in this investigation. She noted that whoever is found culpable will be brought to justice, regardless of place or position.“Furthermore, we call upon corporate Guyana to partner with us and help us to promote responsible behaviour in pageantry sponsorship…,” she said.Arindell also called on major policy-makers; community stakeholders; social protection agencies; and non-governmental, community- based and religious organizations to participate in the march.“These young women would have all changed their platforms to reflect the social issues that are affecting young women, and have pledged to speak on their individual platforms about their reasons for being a part of this movement… I take this personally, and I will not ask these courageous young women to cower and disappear from facing the harsh reality of this incident”, Arindell stated.She has called on all to support the delegates and to allow justice to prevail.The allegation of sexual assault went viral on social media after a post that a businessman from Amelia’s Ward, Linden had made sexual advances towards the delegates when they were at his premises to seek sponsorship during March 2018. The post alleges that the LM&TC had tried to cover up the matter, and officials had tried to silence the victims.An investigation found evidence that an incident did occur on March 3, 2018, and the said matter was settled between the parties involved on March 6, 2018.The Alliance for Change (AFC) has said, in a statement on the matter, that it is aware of a social media post regarding an alleged incident which took place in Linden.The party also admitted that the incident involved a member of the AFC’s Region 10 Regional Management Committee.Based on information emanating from some sources, the AFC member was one of the persons who had accompanied the victim to the businessman’s premises to seek sponsorship, and that had led to her allegedly being assaulted.