Law enforcement’s (mis)treatment of women

Stella Says

Stella says...In this column I will provide more cases that have occurred since the January 5 column as an update on how this untenable situation continues for women. It is my intent to continue these columns until women finally receive the protection they are entitled to by those who are paid to do so with taxpayer money.

A January 8 Stabroek News article reported, “More than two weeks after her throat was slashed and she was stabbed multiple times by her husband, a 22-year-old Bartica nurse says that the authorities are not moving fast enough to charge the man—a prison officer—and she wanted the process to be sped up because she felt unsafe.” A comment on this article said, “…apparently law men are above the law, the laws don’t apply to them…”

The man was eventually charged, but the whole process was a fiasco. The woman was not even aware that her husband was taken to court until the day of the matter. “The police tell me I shoulda be there but they didn’t tell me (of the date of his appearance),” she said. The woman was not satisfied with the amount of bail that her husband was released on and does not feel safe.

On January 9, a Stabroek New article reported that Natoya Carter had reported threats and an assault by her former live-in partner, but when she told the police that he threatened her with a gun, they were afraid to do a follow-up visit to his home.

“She stated that she went to the Prashad Nagar Police Station to report the matter but the police were afraid to visit the man’s residence because they became afraid after she related to them that he owned a gun. Sometime later, she, however, said, the lawmen went to the man’s home and arrested him.” He was subsequently charged and released on $180,000 bail.

Stabroek News reported on January 29 that “A Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice mother is claiming wrongful arrest and detention by the police at the Fort Wellington Police Station, who she said kept her in custody for several hours on Sunday, while her three children including a one-year-old who breast-feeds, were unattended.” She only went to the station to make a statement about a scuffle her husband had with another man.

“Nazeema Mohamed told this newspaper that she was held from around 7 am and kept there until 5 pm even though she pleaded with the detective to let her go and look after her children. She lamented that her children had nothing to eat and she told the police officer that ‘pickney looking after pickney…’ She meant that her nine-year-old son was left with his one-year-old and two-year-old brothers.”

On February 6, Stabroek News reported, “Nearly a month after it was alleged that a mentally challenged teenager was raped by a driver, the file was sitting at the Fort Wellington Police Station and had not been sent to the DPP’s Chambers as previously asserted. Yesterday, the mother of the mentally challenged teenager was disappointed at this development.”

On January 7, the minibus driver was arrested after he allegedly took the 18-year-old to his home and committed the act. A police source had subsequently told this newspaper that they could not proceed with charges because the teenager could not give a proper statement. When the file finally did make its way to the DPP, a Stabroek News article from February 20 said the advice was to charge the man and to further investigate “minor things.”

In other words, it took nearly two months to charge a man for raping a mentally challenged girl!

On February 8, well-respected newsman, Gordon Moseley, posted this on his Facebook page, “A four-year-old Linden boy was stabbed five times after walking in on his stepfather raping a female family member. A Group calling itself Mothers of Linden launched protest action against the Police at Linden over their handling of reports surrounding the gruesome slaying of 4 year old Jamal Nedd.

“The protesting mothers said when the boy was attacked by his stepfather, two women including the one who was allegedly raped by the same man ran into the police station pleading for help and begging the police officers to go to the boy’s aid. They said the policemen never budged although the attack was taking place less than 100 yards from the station. Instead of going to the aid of the 4 year old, the policemen on duty shouted at the women to leave the station with one of the women saying she was told by a policeman that she ‘always got a problem and like cause strife.’ The police only moved when other persons came screaming for help and by that time the 4 year old was already stabbed to death and his assailant on the run.”

In a nutshell, a woman is raped and a little boy is murdered less than 100 yards from a police station and the officers just cannot be bothered.

On February 13, a Stabroek News article reported, “A pregnant mother was placed in the East La Penitence Police Station lock-ups last evening after she was arrested for failing to attend court as a witness. The arrest was made without an arrest warrant while the woman was at her home.

“[Michelle] Lynch stated that earlier in the day, she was at a clinic when an officer called her and told her she needed to be at the Magistrates’ Court to give evidence in a murder inquiry. She said she indicated to the officer that she was at clinic, since she is pregnant. She told this newspaper that after she had left the clinic, she tried to make contact with the officer that called her to see when she could go to court but she was unsuccessful.”

On this matter, a letter writer said, “On receipt of that news which speaks of nothing short of barbarism by the police, my first reaction was to ask what manner of person would treat a pregnant woman like that? Are the ranks who were responsible for such a cowardly decision born of a mother? Do they have wives and sisters? …Should it be mentioned how revolting it was to have treated Ms Lynch the way the police did?”

On March 2 Stabroek News reported that the mother of a 13-year-old girl is pleading for justice for her daughter who was allegedly sexually molested by the son of a senior official of the Guyana Police Force in December last year.

A report was made to the police on December 24. The mother said the officer she spoke with at Brickdam Police Station told her they would be in contact with her. Contact was never made and she went back to the station on numerous occasions to inquire about the matter. The woman also said that on her visits to the police station, she was told by the officer that the typing of the statement was not completed and that she had a lot of work to do, so she should return at a later date.

The statement was finally typed around mid-February. At the time of the March 2 report, nothing further has been heard and the mother related that the police said they have more investigations to do. “I want them to deal with this issue strictly and him to be charged soon,” the child’s mother said. She said she feels the matter is being delayed at because the accused is the son of a top police officer.

And, of course, there is the widely circulated video of a police rank beating at least three men trying to protect a woman and her child who were protesting a Guyana Geology and Mines Commission operation in Region Nine. A group of police and GGMC Mines officers could be seen standing around as the rank beat the men.

The child was lying on top of his mother who was lying on the ground as the two other men used their bodies in an attempt to protect them from the blows.

What was the response of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission? It started an investigation to “verify the validity of an alleged confrontation between members of the Guyana Police Force and illegal miners during an enforcement exercise to curb illegal mining activities within Marudi Mountain, Region Nine.”

They need to verify the validity of the alleged confrontation? That is what their investigation entails? Seriously?

Sadly, I’m quite sure there will be more updates to come.

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