Human trafficking activist Simona Broomes yesterday filed an official complaint with the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against her arrest last week.
Stabroek News understands that the DPP will now make a request to the police for the file on the matter.
Her attorney Raphael Trotman told Stabroek News that Broomes ended up at the DPP’s Chambers following a letter published in the Sunday edition of this newspaper, which invited her to do just that. The letter said in part that if the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO) head felt that an injustice was meted out to her she could visit the office and file an official complaint. It would be on this basis that a request could be made for the police file to be sent to the DPP for legal advice, the letter said.
Trotman said Broomes made contact with him and they went to the Chambers around 10 am.
Broomes was arrested after a woman who is charged with human trafficking accused Broomes of threatening her with a gun and stealing a six-ounce gold chain she was wearing. The incident reportedly occurred in April after Broomes and other members of her organisation rescued four girls, aged 14, 15, 17 and 18, from a shop owned by the woman in the Tiger Creek area. Five hours after her arrest, Broomes was placed on $10,000 station bail.
The attorney told this newspaper that when he read of his client’s case he found it to be “beyond strange” that the allegation could have been made so long after the incident occurred.
He also lashed out at the police for the manner in which they handled the issue. According to Trotman, in this case the police were used as the “instrument of harassment and intimidation”.
Trotman, while stressing that he and many others like him would be standing behind Broomes, noted that police should be trying to protect the GWMO president knowing how hard she is trying to protect young girls who are the victims of human trafficking and that she often puts her own life at risk doing so.
“There are people who will protect her…stand up for her,” he stressed adding that he and his client are now waiting on the DPP to request the file from the police.
He noted that no one should be stopped from making allegations but at the same time police have to deal with them in a certain manner. He said the allegations that have been made against Broomes “raised some eyebrows” and he opined that they were of a vindictive nature. “Police should have been careful how they approached this,” he said.
He expressed hope that the police will not proceed with charges against Broomes because if they do, she is prepared to defend herself. He again stressed that this was an act to intimidate Broomes into backing down from her “crusade to rescue these girls”.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) said its Executive Committee, during the organisation’s third quarterly meeting, reviewed, among other issues, the “odious harassment” of Broomes by the police. The GHRA extended solidarity and support to Broomes.
“Consternation over the sentencing of two interior shopkeepers to five years each in the first TIP case to reach completion in Guyana, seems, however, to have disturbed the marabunta nest and spurred the action against Ms Broomes,” the GHRA said in a release issued yesterday.
GHRA said it was very alarmed at the implications of this incident particularly to the extent to which it suggests that the police are now “available to perpetrate acts of vindictiveness to disrupt the course of justice.
“This particular incident provides a glimpse of the impunity and lawlessness that permeates the mining industry from top to bottom. Mining circles are rife with stories of bribes demanded and paid to secure licences, permits, exemptions, circumventing laws, regulations and routine requirements of any description. The jaw-dropping size of the sums allegedly changing hands at the upper-reaches only underlines the extent of the hopelessness of the task facing the rank-and-file police and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) enforcement officers,” the release said.