President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) Simona Broomes yesterday flayed police over their handling of the assault report made against her, saying there has been a “glaring” lack of professionalism.
Broomes, who said the allegations against her are intended to intimidate, also revealed that she has been receiving e-mail threats and a recent indication that her children “would not be spared” has left her alarmed and scared.
“As President of the GWMO, neither I nor my members wish to be in receipt of any special treatment from the police but we expect the police to be professional in their work and in this incident it is glaring that this has not been the case,” Broomes said yesterday, in a statement responding to a Guyana Police Force press release on her arrest and her subsequent lodging of an official complaint with the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Police on Tuesday said there was evidence to support the assault allegation made against Broomes by her accuser, Ann Marie Carter, who was charged with a number of counts of human trafficking due to Broomes’ work. Carter has also been charged with assault, including the assault of Broomes.
According to the police, upon being arrested Carter alleged that she was “brutally assaulted,” including with the use of firearms, by Broomes and other persons in her company. “Her allegations were supported by a medical report and eye witnesses,” police said, while adding that following the allegations Broomes was interviewed by the police and placed on bail. Police said the force’s actions have been in keeping with professionalism and were not bent on intimidation nor intended to place any blemish on Broomes’ record and her reputation.
While police said Carter’s allegations were made upon her arrest in August, after she had evaded arrest for months following the April 21 date of the alleged altercation, Broomes yesterday noted that police records would show that Carter was first arrested in June and charged with a trafficking related offence on June 28. She was initially remanded to prison but later granted bail. Carter was in court again on August 19 charged with another trafficking offence and on August 21 she was charged with assaulting Broomes.
The GWMO leader said Carter did not make any allegations against her when she was first arrested in June and questions why she waited almost two months later to make such allegations.
“Did it not seem strange to the investigating ranks that Miss Carter did not make the allegation when she was first arrested but two months later and only after she was informed [that] she would be charged with assaulting me?” Broomes asked. “It took almost a week before the police arrested me and later placed me on bail for allegedly assaulting Miss Carter and stealing a gold chain that was reportedly around her neck,” she added.
Further, Broomes said, the statement in which Carter made the allegations, which she saw during her detention at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, was dated August 19.
“It also begs the question as to when the purported medical certificate, [referred to] in the police press release, was issued,” she said, adding that she questions how the police can ascertain that the supposed injuries listed on the medical certificate were sustained on April 21 in the Puruni backdam.
In addition, Broomes said as soon as she came out of the backdam with the alleged trafficking victims she had attempted to make a report at the Bartica Police Station that Carter had assaulted her but the police did not take a statement from her.
“My statement was only taken after I returned to Georgetown and publicly decried the police’s refusal to take a statement. One was subsequently taken at the CID Headquarters,” she said. “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 added.
Nevertheless, Broomes said she remained ready to assist police in any way during the investigation of the allegations against her and she added that should charges be laid, she would defend herself in the court.
Broomes also said that while she expected to encounter resistance to attempts to tackle human trafficking, she had not anticipated it to this extent.
In addition to the allegations against her, which she maintained are intended to intimidate, Broomes said she had been receiving threats from unknown persons via emails and had chosen to ignore them until one email said that “my three children would not be spared.”
“I am now very concerned and scared,” she said, while noting that the other GWMO members are also concerned about their safety as it is public knowledge that the authorities have not been supportive of their work.
“It was very disconcerting to read that Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, who has never afforded us a meeting, insinuated that the only reason I am waging a battle against this scourge is to receive plaques and medals,” Broomes added. Instead, she said it was her years spent working in the interior and observing women being exploited and abused that informed her decision to form the organisation. “I finally said, enough is enough,” Broomes, said, adding that she remains resolute in her quest to wage a war against human trafficking and to eliminate this scourge from the society.