Last Updated on Sunday, 10 January 2016, 22:46 by Denis Chabrol
Junior Minister of Natural Resources, Simon Broomes Sunday night ordered police to lock up shop owners and take stern action against parents who traffick their teenage girls by taking them to night spots where they imbibe and use date-rape drugs.
“I want to ask the police that the law must be upheld. These twelve, thirteen, fourteen-year old little girls in these rum-shops and the bar owners selling them alcohol and all the ecstasies- lock them up. Lock up the person who owns the business,” she told a meeting of Mahdia residents and mainly small gold miners in Region Eight.
The Junior Minister, who was recognised by the United States government for fight against Trafficking In Persons (TIP) prior to entering politics, also called on police to charge parents who encourage their daughters, especially early teenagers, to engage in such activities.
“Even if it is parents taking their young girl children- that is trafficking. Charge them, charge the owner for the business. It is simple law,” she said.
Directing her appeal to Divisional Commander for the Interior, Senior Superintendent Ravindradat Budhram who attended the meeting, she said: “Mr. Commander , it is one of the areas I am asking of you personally to have the police take a different line of action to protect these young people in Mahdia. You got to protect them,” she said.
Broomes’ call was made in response to concerns by a number of women including governing coalition back-bencher, Gloria Bancroft who raised serious concerns about the failure of police to take action.
The United States has for several years now given Guyana low marks for the fight against Trafficking In Persons.
Bancroft, who is a former Rural Corporal for 15 years, expressed grave concern about the poor response by police to numerous reports of rape of young girls. “When things happen and people go to the station and they get no satisfaction,” said Bancroft, adding that allegations have surfaced about police being bribed not to take action.
“What they are using, they are putting some kind of thing in the girls’ juice or beer and knock them out and they are really sexually abused. Minister, come on, I am a woman, I pray that something never happen. I hope the good Lord don’t do that to me,” said Bancroft, a mother of three.
Questioning “how could you bribe a woman’s body,” Bancroft called on the high command of the Guyana Police Force to transfer all the policemen and women now at Mahdia and bring in another batch.
Another resident blamed the police for turning a blind eye to the opening of bars and restaurants later than 11 PM into the predawn hours of the following day, resulting in drunkenness and people turning up dead on the roadways. “Many people die on the road and nobody knows who killed them,” a resident said.
Responding to Bancroft, Commander Budhram promised attendees to address allegations of police bribery and told residents they could call him “secretly” with their concerns.
The Junior Natural Resources Minister announced that a meeting of small miners would be held on January 15, 2016 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre where they would be expected to raise concerns and propose solutions to authorities.