Mar 13, 2013 News
– Lad having nightmares
By Abena Rockcliffe
Resulting from his one-time experience of police brutality, which occurred some two weeks ago, 10-year-old Renaldo Prince remains deeply traumatised to the extent that he’s having nightmares.
Two Saturdays ago, police ranks inflicted a sound thrashing on a group of civilians including a woman and her Brazilian son.
At the time of the beating, a protest demonstration staged by miners was in progress. Initial reports were that the woman, Varverona Prince and her young son Renaldo were part of the protest.
The woman came to Georgetown yesterday to visit the Brazilian Ambassador.
In an interview with this newspaper, Prince made it clear that her presence at the location was for the sole purpose of cooking.
The incident occurred in the Marudi trail. The police, accompanied by officials from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), reportedly went to disperse the crowd in protest.
Photos and video footage of the incident began surfacing since the day of the incident and it showed the woman and her child being beaten.
Also injured during the incident, is another of the woman’s sons, Lorenzo, who suffered injuries to his left hand and Michael Prince who sustained injuries to his knee and shoulder.
Even though the incident occurred two weeks ago, yesterday the Mrs. Prince displayed black and blue marks still visible on her back. She said that despite the healing of the physical wounds on her feet, any bending causes pain to her knees.
Even more heart rending, the 10-year-old sustained a “severe fracture” to his left leg and has missed school since the incident.
His mother told this publication yesterday that he still “yells in his sleep, sometimes he shouts ‘No,no’ then another time I heard him saying ‘no,no please stop’; he is eating as usual and sleeps also, but it seems like he continues to get nightmare.”
The woman said that she and her son live in Brazil and he goes to school in Boa Vista.
As she reflected on the day of the incident, Prince recalled that, at that time “I felt nothing, it is strange but I really didn’t feel a thing, I was just focused on protecting my son. I wanted to make sure they didn’t hit him in his head.”
“People probably think I am a bad mother, having my son at a mining area, but the truth is that he goes to school, but we went there to spend the weekend with his father, he likes adventure, but he got more than we bargained for. I just want all this to be over.”
She said that after they had been beaten, she received assistance from “strangers… a man I never even see before picked my son… and I get up on his bike and he took us out from there. When we got to a shop some people sprayed this numb spray on Renaldo’s leg and rubbed it”.
The family was reportedly advised by the Brazilian embassy not to speak with the press.
Before visiting the embassy, Prince revealed that initially she didn’t want the publicity.
“I just wanted it to pass, but after it was all over the place and I realised how bad this thing affected Renaldo, I told myself that it (publicity) was probably for the best. So when I read that the (Police) Commissioner vowed to take action, I felt as if justice will be served and that no other woman and her child would have to relive my experience. But I am not really seeing anything happening, this man is still on the loose and I am really scared of that fact. He beat me and my child once, I don’t want it to ever happen again.”
The woman pleaded with this newspaper not to state her whereabouts. She opined that it is one of the scariest things in life to know that the people who are mandated to protect are the ones most brutal.
“He is a police, his job is to protect all citizens, but instead he was the one beating us,” Mrs. Prince reflected.
She further stated that the rank should be fired for his actions. “There was no warning, he just start beating us.”
The mother of three said that in her over 10 years living in Brazil, she was never brutalised by police, but came into her own country to suffer that fate.
“But, it could have been worse. They had some big guns and I am just really thankful to God that they didn’t use them. I really thank God for that.”
The persons involved, all civilians, were part of a group of miners protesting what they deemed was their unlawful removal from a mining claim that is registered to a Canadian mining concern.
Some 300 local miners have been operating approximately 22 dredges in the area for the past 10 years when the Canadian firm appeared to have neglected it.
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