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Conflicting accounts about whether beaten American ex-servicewoman was booked to travel

In the wake of alleged police brutality meted out to an American ex-servicewoman at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), there are conflicting accounts about whether the woman was booked to travel on a Caribbean Airlines flight to Miami last Saturday.

Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud told Demerara Waves Online News on Monday that an internal investigation has so far revealed that the woman, Sharon Garnette-Mason, was not in possession of a ticket for that flight that was scheduled to leave at 5:30 AM.

However, a senior official at CJIA on Monday told DemWaves that the woman had a valid ticket for that flight, but she was refused because of her erratic behaviour. At one stage, she rushed the Caribbean Airlines representative at the check-in counter, the official said on condition of anonymity.

However, according to the Police Commissioner, the probe so far has revealed that the woman did not have a ticket but insisted on boarding the flight. After Mason was refused processing at the check-in counter, Persaud said she proceeded to purchase Departure Tax but was told that she could not do so without a boarding pass.

Incensed, the woman ran to the conveyor belt and attempted to gain entry to the air-side of the airport through the baggage chute, said the Police Commissioner. He said police used a baton to subdue the woman and she was taken to a hospital

Persaud said the incident was initially not reported upwards through the chain-of-command of the Guyana Police Force, but investigators Sunday night went to the airport and reviewed surveillance video recordings and interviewed the police who were on duty at the time of the incident. Police are expected to return to the airport on Monday to take statements from the relevant personnel.

A CJIA official said the incident highlights the need for the CJIA Port Health section to be staffed with personnel who could provide initial treatment for persons suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.