Acting Police Commissioner (APC) David Ramnarine, on Sunday released a statement shutting down claims that 65 female students of Region One (Barima-Waini), were strip-searched in the presence of male officers.
This statement came in response to an article titled, “Region One education officials investigate strip-searching of female students” published in the Guyana Stabroek newspaper on Sunday.
The article alleges that female students of the Santa Rosa Secondary School were strip-searched in the presence of male officers, after a report was made to the Acquero Police Station of missing money at the school.
According to the article, the Police Station was contacted by the school’s Welfare Officer who alleged that $55,000 was stolen from the school’s dorm mother.
Reports revealed that the woman claimed that she locked her room and left the key hanging on a wall.
However, she returned and later discovered the money missing which prompted her to report the matter to the Welfare Officer who then contacted the Police.
The article related that orders were given by the Police Station to strip-search the students. This was done in the presence of two male officers, the dorm mother and the Welfare Officer of the school. The money was not found, however it was also noted that male students somehow managed to witness the strip-search which angered the female students.
In the statement, the APC said that according to the reports he received, the officers who reported to the school were present when the students’ bags was searched, however when the Welfare Officer suggested that a search be conducted on each child, the Subordinate Officer objected and indicated that it would be improper in the circumstance for the Police to sanction this, and he and the Constable left the school.
The Subordinate Officer later reported that he learned that the children were searched by the Welfare Officer. This story surfaced on Friday last when an affected female student confided in a resident of the area as to what had transpired.
The Regional Executive Officer, who also received reports of this incident, seemingly without investigating, called the alleged act by the officers “greatly inappropriate”.