Ministry awaiting ‘official report’ on assault by cop at St Ignatius

– victim signed document to end matter

The Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday said it was “dismayed” at the serious allegations made against a member of the Guyana Police Force accused of assaulting a woman from St Ignatius, Region Nine.

Roxanne Farias was reportedly assaulted by an officer stationed at the Lethem Police Station on the morning of June 10 outside a nightclub in Tabatinga known as ‘City Boy’ or ‘Yellow Shop.’

In a press release yesterday, the ministry said that in the absence of an official report, which the ministry awaits, it wished to assure citizens that such conduct by service members of the force will not be condoned, adding that there is no place for “rogue cops” in the force.

Speaking to Stabroek News via phone from St Ignatius, Farias recounted her ordeal of being cuffed to the face by the well-known police officer after she objected to him assaulting her brother.

Ironically, Farias is a member of the St Ignatius Community Policing Group (CPG) and she said the officer is well known to her.

The mother of four, who is a research technician at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), said that hours after the incident she signed a document at the Lethem Police Station indicating that she did not want the matter to go further.

She recalled that she had gone to the nightspot with her brother, who was visiting from Brazil where he attends university; his girlfriend and two other females.

The 37-year-old said they were dancing in a circle when a known taxi driver approached her brother’s partner and told her something and she pushed him away.

He left but returned a second time and this time her brother approached him and told him that the young woman was with him.

This seemed to have angered the man who left but returned and dealt her brother a lash to his head with a bottle.

“The disco light come and I see my brother head and face had blood and we rush outside…,” the woman said.

The woman related that outside the disco, the policeman, who was not dressed in uniform, approached her brother and demanded that he visit the station. Her brother objected and the policeman reportedly began to choke him. Farias said she approached the lawman and indicated to him that she was a member of the CPG and knew the rights of citizens and what he was doing was not right.

“He then turn and give me one cuff to the left side of my face,” the woman said adding that she momentarily became dazed.

The other females in the group used the opportunity to run with her brother to a taxi which she also joined.

“I can’t really say what the policeman do after that but all I know I get in the taxi and I was concerned about getting my brother to the hospital,” she said.

At the hospital they were told that her brother was not seriously injured and Farias said they decided to make a report to the police station. They were told to return later in the morning.

She said she later reported the incident to the chairman of her CPG and he advised that they return to the station immediately where a confrontation was held with the policeman.

“He say he ain’t cuff me because if he cuff me all my teeth would come out,” Farias recounted, adding that her brother was not prepared for the matter to go further since he wanted to return to university.

“I really can’t remember what the officer-in-charge tell me. 1 didn’t understand but he was saying something about DPP and all kinds of things. But I know I sign a document to finish the story. I am a single mother of four and my children already get teased and I don’t really want all this publicity,” the woman said.

She only agreed to speak to this newspaper after she was advised that the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a press release which stated her name and the village in which she lived.

Farias said many persons are upset with her for signing the document but she was thinking about her children and her sick father whom she did not want to become aware of the incident. Her father is a well-known former Toshao of the St Ignatius village and he has also dug well in the areas. She said last year he fell into a well he was digging and has not been well since.

“I didn’t really want any kind of problem. Daddy sick and my children writing national exams. I leave everything in the hands of the Lord,” the woman stressed.

She said she has since been informed that the policeman, who has been accused of being involved in illegal activities in the area, has since been transferred.

“I leave him to God, where he gone he will do something worse and he will get what is coming to him,” she said.

Meantime, the ministry in the release said that notwithstanding the intransigent posture adopted by the political opposition its aim is to have in place a police service comprising officers who would discharge their responsibilities to the citizens of Guyana with the highest level of professionalism.