…probe launched, group urges action
RESIDENTS of Bartica, in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni administrative region have expressed disgust over a prevailing situation of sexual exploitation in which teenage girls as young as 13 are being gang-raped, some even drugged with ecstasy, by a group of men in the area.
The Guyana Chronicle was alerted by a post on social media by a Bartica man Tuesday highlighting what he called the “real dangers” faced by young women, whom he listed as “13, 14, 15 year-old schoolgirls”.
“So in Bartica there is this gang of men, who goes around luring these 13,14, 15 year old schoolgirls, picking them up from school and taking them to various places including hotels, then having a ball with them.. part of the process include giving them Ecstasy,” part of the man’s post read.
When the Guyana Chronicle contacted Bartica Mayor Gifford Marshall Tuesday afternoon he confirmed the reports to be true. Marshall said his office is aware of the situation and has launched an investigation. He is expected to give a statement on the issue in a few days after he would have gathered adequate information.
Another official in Bartica also told the Guyana Chronicle that investigations reveal that some of the same men are involved repeatedly in the series of rape which has been happening for a while. The source said the latest two cases which were reported involved, two teenaged school girls – ages 13 and 14 respectively – who complained of being gang raped on separate occasions.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that one of the girls, a 13-year-old complained that five adult men had gang-raped her before letting her go. Police are investigating the matter. “Around Christmas time there was one that they drugged and she was naked. She ran out of the house and ran out on the road naked,” a reliable source told the Guyana Chronicle. According to the source, a video of the naked girl on the street was also circulating on social media. She was only 15 years old.
“Some of the cases are in court, some are back and forth. Social workers are aware of it,” the source said.
Sometimes the girls are being lured and at other times they are bullied. According to the source, “Bartica is a society which is fast pace, so at this stage they might offer them a phone or some time to lure them.”
President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) Urica Primus, who is also a Bartician, expressed disgust and said the issue is not a new one. She told the Guyana Chronicle that rape in Bartica is on a steady increase, but few persons report cases, since many of such cases end prematurely.
“Rape in Bartica is steadily increasing, with less person’s reporting due to many cases not going to trial. For a number of cases the victims are told that their files are with the DPP and when we check, the files aren’t there… This is a matter that we brought to the attention of the Hinterland Intelligence Committee, which we are a part of, and a complaint that we heard as recent as Saturday during our TIP Sensitization Rescue and Rehabilitation programme at Port Kaituma,” the GWMO President told the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday.
She said too that with little or no support services available to victims in some rural communities, perpetrators walk free and have opportunities to threaten or bribe the victim in many cases. The GWMO is working aggressively with little resource to render as much help as they can to victims of sexual exploitation, and all other forms of abuse against children and women across Guyana, she said.
“We will continue to assist the communities and the parents in an effort for them to get justice for their children, whether it is relaying between them and the DPP, following up with the police and also following the process all the way through court to ensure that the children and adults, whoever the victims are, get justice for the crimes which happened to them,” Primus told the Guyana Chronicle.