Simona Broomes, President of the Guyana Women Miners’ Organization (GWMO) is demanding that the Guyana Police Force behave professionally. She said that she wants no special treatment as ranks investigate assault and robbery allegations leveled against her by a businesswoman remanded for human trafficking.
Two Mondays ago, Broomes, who has been rescuing women and children from the sex trade, was detained at police headquarters in relation to assault and robbery allegations. She was released on $10,000 bail and is expected to return to Eve Leary on September 6.
Her arrest has been very topical with many organizations and individuals expressing dismay with the police action. Broomes has since submitted a written statement to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
In a statement responding to the police version of events surrounding her arrest, Broomes said, “In that release the police stated that my accuser, Ann Marie Carter, who is facing multiple Trafficking In Persons (TIP) charges in the court, made the allegations upon her arrest in August, after evading arrest for months following the April 21, 2013 date of the alleged incident.”
However, Broomes said that the police should have records which would indicate that Carter was in fact first arrested in June 2013 and was charged with a TIP-related offence on June 28. Carter was initially remanded to prison, but later granted bail and this was reported in the daily newspapers on June 29.
The TIP hero recalled that Carter was again taken before the courts on August 19 on another trafficking charge. On August 21 she was on a charge of assaulting her.
“It took almost another week before the police arrested me and later placed me on bail for allegedly assaulting Ms. Carter and stealing a gold chain that was reportedly around her neck when I rescued four females, including three children who were being held against their will and forced into prostitution,” Broomes said.
Broomes questioned why Carter did not make the allegation of assault and theft against her when she was arrested in June but waited only after she was charged with assaulting her.
“The statement in which she made the allegations and which I saw during my lengthy stay at the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters was dated August 19. It also begs the question as to when the purported medical certificate, as was stated in the police release, was issued.
“It would have been instrumental if the police had made this public, as this I am sure would have shed some light on the issue,” she noted.
She said, “The normal procedure of a medical certificate bearing credence is a report being made to the police and a medical paper being issued. This is then taken to a medical institution where the person is seen by a doctor.”
“How can the Guyana Police Force ascertain that the supposed injuries listed on the medical were sustained on April 21 in the Puruni Backdam?”
Broomes recalled that when she was assaulted by Carter she had attempted to report the matter at the Bartica Police Station but the police did not take a statement. In fact, her statement was only taken when she returned to Georgetown and publicly decried the police refusal to take a statement.
“One was subsequently taken at CID Headquarters. At that time I showed the police photographic evidence of the assault and indicated that I had witnesses, but the detectives refused to take statements from the persons who were available,” she stated.
Broomes said that neither she nor GWMO members wish to be in receipt of any special treatment from the police, but expect the police to be professional in their work. “And, in this incident it is glaring that this has not been the case,” she added.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, who did not directly mention Broomes’s name during a TIP Training of Trainers’ Workshop, yesterday, said that in a democracy everyone is free to level allegations and accusations. Irrespective of who are accused the matter will be investigated.
According to Rohee, “Once the allegation is levelled the police have the constitutional right to investigate those allegations. If someone walks into a police station and level an accusation against the Minister of Home Affairs even though the Minister is responsible for the police the police have the right to investigate the allegation.”
He said that no one is above the law and there are no holy cows in society. He said that Guyana does not have a rouge Government since it respects Conventions. He said that Government’s policy is not to condone TIP.
According to Broomes, when she started GWMO she knew there would have been great resistance to any battle waged against TIP, but did not expect it to be to this extent.
“I wish to make it public that apart from this intimidation, and I strongly believe that this is the case, I have also been receiving emails from unknown persons who have threatened to harm me and defame my character.
“I ignored these vile threats until one email mentioned that my three children would not be spared. I am now very concerned and scared,” Broomes said.
“My members are also concerned for their safety as it is now obvious more than ever that our personal safety is at grave risk when we travel into the interior to rescue victims of TIP and exploitation,” she added.
She stated that the “powers” have not been very supportive of GWMO’s work, and this is public knowledge. It was very disconcerting to read that Rohee, who has never afforded GWMO a meeting, insinuated that the only reason Broomes is waging a battle against this scourge is to receive plaques and medals.
“I would have the Minister know that plaques and medals were never on the horizon when I started this organization. Rather, it was my years of working in the interior and observing women being exploited and abused- I finally said, enough is enough”, she said.
“I, Simona Broomes, stand resolute in my quest to wage a war against TIP and to eliminate this scourge from our society. The children and women who are crying out for help are my driving force and I will not let them down”.
“As for the continuing investigation by the Guyana Police Force I stand ready to assist them in anyway and should charges be laid against me I will defend myself in the court of law”.
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