Guyana Chronicle:- TWO teenage girls have been removed by ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in the Kuribrong Mining District, Region Eight, Potaro-Siparuni, following reports that they were allegedly working and participating in sexual activities there.
Police have also arrested their mother as they open an investigation into the matter. The ranks who visited the Kuribrong mining district acted on a tip-off that under-aged or school-aged girls were residing in the hinterland location.
The team included senior mines officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Simona Broomes.
Along the Amaila Falls access road, located in the Kuribrong mining district, it was observed that several illegal structures were erected, which were inspected by the team of mines officers and the police.
It was during the inspection that the two young girls – aged 17 and 15 years old – were found. At approximately 09:00hrs the girls were observed purchasing a pair of flip-flop slippers at a shop when the law- enforcement ranks questioned them.
The girls said that they have been residing in the Kuribrong mining district for just over one year and are originally from the Amerindian village of Kopinang, North Pakaraimas. They also said that they are twins and are adults.
But after a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the duo were not twins after the younger sister was unable to corroborate her year of birth. “Are you sure you are twins? What are you doing here? How long have you been in the back dam?” asked one police officer who recognised that the teenagers were lying.
“We been in here for about a year…we living over so with we parents and we does work with them,” said the older sister as her younger sibling nodded in conformity.
The law-enforcement ranks later placed the girls into a vehicle and took them to their parents, who were indeed not too far away. The girls’ father was sitting under a tent in the area with a few friends imbibing, while their mother was inside the camp that was set up a little over a year ago.
“Sir, good morning. Are these your children?” asked an officer who was forced to repeat the question once more as the father of the children did not hear him. “Yes, they is me chirren,” said the father.
As the police spoke with the father of the girls, their mother arrived and she confirmed that the girls were her children and provided their names to the police. However, the names provided by the mother differed from that provided by the girls when they were found at the shop.
The girls gave the correct first names but different last names. “Me mother sign for me and me father sign for she,” said the older teen.
The parents were asked to produce the birth certificates for the teenagers and it was discovered that they were not 18 years as they had initially claimed, but 17 and 15 respectively.
“Madam, what are these girls doing here? Do you know it is against the law for these minors to be here?” asked the police officer.
But all the mother of the teenagers would say is that her “daughters help me here. They work with me.” The woman said she is a cook and would have her eldest daughter assist her as she prepares the food. She told the officers that her younger daughter, who attended Secondary School, was with her because she has no one to care for her.
But even as the woman attempted to explain why her daughters were with her, the father of the children sat quietly in a drunken state shaking his head.
“Pack your things immediately…mom, you have to come with them,” said the law-enforcement officer firmly. The mother and her children complied and they were escorted out of the Kuribrong mining area.
On the journey, the Guyana Chronicle spoke with the young girls who did not seem fearful of being in the back dam. The older girl said, “I want to get rich…me want to buy car and house…that is what me want,” while her sister looked on smiling.
The duo had no real plan for their lives, but believed that being in the back dam with their parents was their best option thus far. The 17 – year – old admitted to visiting nearby “kaimoos” to drink alcohol, dance and sleep with men, most of whom are miners.
“I does do that yeah,” she admitted, while looking away shyly. She told this newspaper of her boyfriend who is involved in diamond mining “up in the mountain.” She said her boyfriend would visit her almost every weekend and spend time with her.
As she spoke, there were “hickeys” [kiss mark, love bite, or bruise-like mark caused by the kissing or sucking of the skin], visible on her neck. When asked how she got the marks on her body, she would not answer but kept smiling.
Meanwhile, the younger sister said she had just returned from Georgetown two days prior.
She said it was a shop-owner who had taken her on the trip to the city. “I went to Georgetown and walk,” the 15-year-old said. She spent three days in the city. The third form student said the last time she attended school was in December 2015 and explained that she stayed in the dormitory.
“I want to go home…I don’t mind going to school,” the young girl said smiling. She disclosed that she and her sister would “help mommy wash wares, cook and suh.”
She said she does not party like her sister and she does not like the taste of beer. “I does go by the shop and hang out with the boys and watch TV, but I don’t go and party. She [sister] went and party last night up suh.”
After listening to the girls, the law-enforcement officers journeyed for approximately nine hours out of the back dam. They along with their mother were taken to the Bartica Police Station where an investigation is ongoing.
The police officer told the Guyana Chronicle that Child Services and the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs will be notified about the situation. This newspaper understands that the teenagers may also be subjected to medical treatment.
Police, GGMC commended
Minister Broomes said she is pleased with the work done by both the GGMC officers and the Guyana Police Force. She explained that the collaboration between the two entities followed training on Trafficking in Persons which took place last week.
Minister Broomes said no matter the circumstances of the family, the teenagers should not have been in the back dam.
“Regardless of how persons want to talk about their needs, it is worrisome…we can’t condone this sort of thing… I am happy with the way in which the police and GGMC handled the matter,” she said.
Describing the situation as a “sad” one, Minister Broomes noted that the fact that the girls were present in the interior with their parents is not sufficient grounds for them living in such conditions.
“The matter should be investigated thoroughly…and based on what has happened I am convinced that the police will get to the bottom of this story,” she said.