[www.inewsguyana.com] – An 11 – year – old child was among several girls that were picked up from a bar in Baramita on Saturday night (October 24) following a visit by Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes and several high-level government officials.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the child was subsequently brought to Georgetown and an investigation was launched into the matter. Minister Broomes said that the child is fully cooperating with Police; however because it is a highly sensitive issue, the findings will not be publicized.
According to the government, the child was seen in school on Friday when Minister Broomes along with Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings-Williams visited the community and engaged the students of the Baramita Primary School on the importance of education and Trafficking In Persons (TIP).
According to Minister Broomes, the child is being kept in a safe home and the parents were contacted and are also assisting with investigations.
In responding to a call to sweep the community of Baramita, Minister Broomes proceeded to conduct house to house visitations and met with parents who expressed concern about their teenage daughters being exploited.
According to GINA, Minister Broomes explained that Cabinet has approved for her to work along with the Minister of Governance to tackle some of the issues in mining areas of which Baramita is one. It is for this reason she will be on the ground tackling the issues of health and safety, child labour and TIP.
Minister Broomes visited the bars in Baramita and educated the owners about the laws that speak to the age of persons consuming alcohol. She said that if shop owners are caught selling alcohol to children then the law must take its course. The illegal shops located along Golden City (the backdam) have been served notices to remove by November 01. Minister Broomes observed that there was a five-year-old disabled child that was lying on the floor in a house clothes-less. She cannot walk nor speak.
“The previous Government has failed the people of Baramita. They talk so much of the development of Amerindians, yet the people are suffering… Not even the Toshao himself knew that there is a child with disability in the village…I want to encourage families that if you have a child with a disability do not be ashamed, they are human beings and let us love them, see how best you can assist them and ensure they get the right medical attention,” Minister Broomes stressed.
She immediately instructed the Toshao to provide a mattress for the child. She advised that the Coalition government will be placing a lot of emphasis on persons with disabilities. She said that the Minister of Public Health will be engaged on the matter to ensure that the child is properly examined and is provided with a wheel chair.
She will also be reporting the matter to Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence to ensure that the child receives public assistance, and is provided with a hamper.
Minister Broomes urged members of the National Toshaos Council and the Amerindian Associations to assist the Ministry in identifying persons with similar situations so that they can receive assistance.
“I have heard the cry of the people of Baramita, and I have already started to respond to them. The people were brave to say that they want me to sweep the community and they will do the mopping after,” Minister Broomes emphasised.
She has instructed the village Council to identify at least three persons to be trained as welfare officers.