About a month ago, a few strangers entered the Vryman’s Erven Secondary School in New Amsterdam where I work. The strangers (teenage boys), seek cover around, inside and behind the school’s laboratories during and after the lunch break session which begins at 11.15am and ends at 12.15pm; this is something which has been occurring constantly at the school for quite some time. Last school year, a stranger attacked a female colleague of mine and got away. That matter currently seems to be forgotten by the police and even the courts.
One of the strangers (a former student of the school whose name I supplied to the police), verbally abused me and attempted to physically assault me on the school grounds near to the labs a few weeks ago. He picked up a piece of wood to hit me after I questioned his presence in the compound. He was not alone as there were approximately six others in the compound. I telephoned for the ‘B’ Division police at the Central Police Station. They never came.
As was the case that day, I had my video camera with me and recorded the entire incident with the stranger. The following morning I turned up at the Central Police Station in New Amsterdam to give a formal report. After relating the entire incident to the person taking the report along with the fact that I had solid evidence to prove what I was saying, the officer told me to wait for the next time these strangers came. He then proceeded to tell me to call the station and ask for a sergeant [name supplied].
That week passed. The following Monday, the same guy who verbally abused and attempted to physically attack me, returned to my place of work, and I did not feel safe as he was making visual signs of threats to me and others. I telephoned for the seargent, only to be told that he wasn’t there. I then related the urgency of the situation to the person who answered my call and they promised to send someone. Not taking their word for it, I dialled 911, and relayed the information. The boys left. No one from the station came.
The following weekend I was interviewed by Prime News in New Amsterdam. I related the information to the newscast and this was aired the following Monday evening in Georgetown and Tuesday afternoon in Berbice.
The very next day, Editor, a team of police officers came to my school enquiring about the incident. All of them had their notepads, writing down every word I spoke. They asked to see the video evidence but I hadn’t my camera with me at that time. I vouched to bring the camera to school the following day when they said they would have returned. They never came back. A few days later, one of them returned to see the video evidence, but again I had not brought my camera. I related to him that I had been bringing the camera to school for the past couple of days and they had not been turning up as they had promised. This cat and mouse game with them and my video camera continued. Up to this point, they have not returned to see the evidence I have on tape.
The same boy continues to be seen up to this day on the streets of New Amsterdam, sometimes right near the Vryman’s Erven Secondary School. The matter, I presume has been forgotten and filed away just like the numerous cases within the force. If you’re not ‘somebody’ known by another ‘somebody,’ you can’t get anywhere in this country. That is indeed a sad but true and depressing reality every Guyanese at some time or another has had to face in his or her life.
I am an ordinary schoolteacher, one who has just started off in this most noble profession, and I am disappointed at the result I got from the police.
I could have been hit and injured that day. My colleague was hit and her matter is now in limbo or something of the kind. The Kaieteur News columnist urged the police to nip these young criminals in the bud before they wreak havoc on our society in days to come. I am sorry to say that I do not have faith in the police. If I called a 911 number that day requesting urgent help as those boys were in the school building, walking the corridors and making visual threats to me, and they did not respond, then where are we going? The taxes I along with thousands of other teachers pay the salaries of the police. We deserve better.
It makes me sick to hear millions are being spent in the Home Affairs Ministry each year on this and that for the police but where I, as a citizen, or my brother or sister on the street come in with these millions of dollars, is a mystery to me.
Just last Wednesday, I had to go to hell and back just to get a CID officer to come to the school to investigate a stolen cell phone. I had to call as high up as the Commander (who was away) to get CID to visit the school.
Weeks after this pathetic incident, I am still waiting for decisive action by the police to capture and prosecute these boys and even justice for my colleague who got injured last year.
Leon Jameson Suseran
We are sending a copy of this letter to Police Commissioner, Mr Henry Greene, for any comments he might wish to make.