We the members of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) would like to respond to a letter authored by Cobeer Persaud and published in the September 6 edition of the Kaieteur News.
Firstly, we would like to thank Mr Persaud for showing such keen interest in the operations of the GWMO. In response to the many questions he asked as it relates to the GWMO let us assure Mr Persaud that our organisation is a duly registered one. It is governed by a constitution and should Mr Persaud do some research he would find that we have publicly declared our aims and objectives.
As to how our officers are elected, it is done through an electoral process, which sees persons being nominated and voted for.
Now to the real gist of Mr Persaud’s letter, where he mentioned that had there been any law enforcement officers and other officials involved in our rescue mission in the Puruni Backdam our President Simona Broomes would not have had allegations of assault and theft levelled against her.
That may or may not be true.
What we would like to state is that on all occasions when we have gone into the backdam to rescue women and children it was always after complaints had been made to the relevant authorities and no action taken. Or in some cases, those who are involved in holding the females against their will would be alerted and they would most times hide the victims or move them to another location.
The GWMO does not hold itself out as an organisation with powers to arrest anyone, and indeed that has not been our mission. We have been involved in the rescuing of victims. In the past we have attempted to collaborate with both the police and other authorities to rescue persons after receiving reports, but unfortunately they have not resulted in any success.
When we receive reports ‒ several a week ‒ we attempt to be as discreet as possible so as not to alert persons, because if this is done the victims are placed in more danger.
We are not going to see women and girls being exploited or held against their will and do nothing. We are not going to leave the women and girls begging, sometimes holding on to our persons, for us to remove them from the area. We spend our own resources to help these persons because of the years we have spent in the interior and have seen daily how women and girls are exploited.
In closing, we would like to state that we are open to collaboration with the police and any other organisation, willing to move with our vision, but unfortunately we cannot provide transportation for these persons. We the members of the GWMO stand resolute in our quest to help victims of Trafficking in Persons and exploitation.
We will continue to help women and girls to leave the interior where they are being abused and we would hand them over to the police. It will be up to the police to investigate and for the powers that be to provide the necessary assistance they need, but we will continue to offer assistance to victims.
We hope this has answered Mr Persaud’s questions and those of any other person who might have similar queries.
For the Guyana
Women Miners Organisation