Minister with responsibility for Youth Affairs Simona Broomes on Monday took an unconventional approach when she took her Facebook page calling out the Guyana Police Force and its Commissioner of Police, her colleague government of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan and the judicial representative (magistrate) who is assigned to sit in the community of Bartica, her hometown. Broomes took a swipe at the officials in a live Facebook broadcast on Monday morning.
The Minister’s post seemed to be prompted by the non-action of the police to a call she made to the Bartica Police Station where she reportedly identified herself and proceeded to inform the police that there was a woman in a clump of bushes next her home crying for ‘help’. Broomes in the post, Broomes said that when she went to the woman’s rescue she observed that she had bruises and scratches about her body and recounted that she met a male at a bar in the community and they went at his house and after that, the man took away her money and put her out of his home.
“I jumped up and I peep to the window and there was nobody on the road but this woman screaming for help in a different tone and language, so I got out on my veranda and this woman coming from in the bush where the burial ground is there is a deep, you know some bushy area there and I am hearing the screams for this woman and she is screaming for help and she is speaking but she is speaking in Portuguese or Spanish so immediately I picked up the phone and I called the police and I said officer good morning my name is Simona Broomes I am the Minister within, I am calling to report somebody is screaming for help in the bush just outside of my house in Westerville housing scheme, you know where is that he said yes I know what is that let me speak with my superior”
Broomes prior to being sworn in as a government minister with the Collation government in 2015 was known for advocacy against abuse and trafficking in persons especially women and girls. “If you are not strong you can lose yourself and you can lose your voice because you have to be so correct and sometimes people say you know, you picking trouble” Broomes noted, an apparent direct reference to her deciding to call out the relevant persons and agencies on her Facebook live despite being a government Minister.
“Coming to Bartica one of the sore problems here is with the police, women meeting me, girls being raped women being abuse; I mean in their own words it makes no sense going to the police so I would usually say listen, His Excellency put now F Division in Bartica not Rabbit Walk anymore. Him doing that is to serve and protect the people in F Division more and more efficiently” Broomes stated.
She said that residents have said to her that the police do not usually show up when calls are made to them and that they were happy that she was there as a minister and is now getting the first-hand experience of what the residents in the community have been going through.
“I gon write the commissioner now in-fact, I got a letter before I come to Bartica you know, so this gon be letter number two because I am not going to ask these women, some women to write anymore I got to do something because everybody know this thing in Bartica and nobody is doing anything about it” the Minister noted.
She said that she is against abuse be it from male or female while making reference to the many killed women and the many incarcerated men. She cautioned men and women in the community while also pointing out that a mere allegation of holding someone against their will can land them in jail on remand and they would need to go to the courts and prove themselves. Broomes also spoke of the many young ladies in bars who are being given ecstasy and money by men needs to stop.
“We never had a commander stationed in this region and it never happened we use to mobilize ourselves, women in Bartica I wanna tell you today something, rise up and let us speak out against this thing. I am not speaking to nobody I don’t even care what happen tomorrow I am not speaking as a minister I am speaking as me, Simona Charles, born and raised in this village, Simona Charles Broomes and it must stop and it must stop now” “I putting the commander and he whole entourage on noticed and I am not putting you on notice as a minister, I putting you on notice as a woman, stop it”
The minister reminded the police that they came to the community to serve and protect and that they took the oath of office while cautioning them that the Bartica people were not begging them for anything. She lashed out at them for joining the band wagon and having residents lamenting that they have nowhere else to go.
“I want the Commissioner of Police to see this, I gon write you Mr. Commissioner, Honorable colleague Khemraj Ramjattan I gon write you too but I ain’t gone keep quite I talking fuss and then write after because like when I deh quite shooe, shooe, I said it before I am not a cat, I have no cat spirit”
She said that she was not losing her voice and she was also not losing it by any instrument, an apparent direct reference to her being a minister of government as she pointed out that she has been quite for too long. “I am who I am because of where I came from” she noted
“Bartica is not a place Mr. Commissioner that you have one set of police all the time, it’s a fast community everybody does want build house and get rich in this place you got to shift them around and nobody will victimize me because you done start with my children when I speak the truth, you are not going to do it, I am not going to hide behind any instrument and lose my voice I don’t even care what we have to do we are going to take the streets, every young girl every woman in this town I call upon you today and you men also who are against it, I call upon the magistrate who coming to this court” Broomes stated.
Broomes Facebook live did not go unnoticed. Police sources have indicated that the Commissioner of Police Leslie James was brought up to speed with the public post by the minister but up to press time, the force did not issue a statement on the matter.
The Caribbean Institute for Democracy has also picked up on the post, labeling the force’s posture in Bartica as incompetence and also named its divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Kevin Adonis. Adonis is slated to head into retirement within a few months’ time.
“Moreover the alleged Police incompetence is an abomination that must be addressed now. There must be consequences. F Division Commander, Senior Superintendent Kevin Adonis, must be held to account for the incompetence in his command. If he cannot protect and serve the people of Bartica, he must be transferred. If the Police refused to respond to an emergency call from a Minister of government, one can only imagine how the Police treats ordinary citizens. I call on Minister of National Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and Police Commissioner Leslie James to take action to ensure that the Police at Bartica demonstrates efficiency and competence in the discharge of their constitutional mandate to serve and protect citizens of Bartica.” Rickford Burke, president of the CIFD noted in a press statement issued on Monday.
The Minister’s Facebook live can be viewed by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/guyana.wakeup.5/videos/693757401112174/