Dear Editor,I am quite pleased to hear Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan suggesting that the licences of hotels caught involving themselves in trafficking in persons (TIP) would be revoked. For too long, the character/future of women has been destroyed by this unscrupulous act because of their vulnerability, and with the crisis in Venezuela, women are being taken advantage on, and I personally believe this is the most sensible thing the Minister ever suggested since taking that portfolio.At present, the authorities are doing an amazing job combating this wanton plague affecting the good name of our country. They have a long way to go, and society should assist to show that it cares. There’re many people offering jobs, and when the women go, they are being taken to strange areas, threatened, and forced to do whatever the crooks desire.But, then again, I will be looking on to see if this suggestion ever materialises; because, in Guyana, we have many in authority who partake in this illegality when it suits them, and I hope suggestions are not being put forward to betray us.Editor, the recent incident with the part-time hotel at Parika caught the media’s attention, but following the story, I didn’t see any action being taken against the hotel for allowing an underage school girl into the hotel. I believe that’s a criminal offence, and appropriate action should have been taken.Similarly, there are many places harbouring underage children during school hours, and when caught, no action is being taken against them. We have too many school drop-outs and lots of places/people creating an environment to welcome them and make them temporarily satisfied with their actions/judgment.The relevant authorities should explore the possibilities of persecuting them to the full extent of the law. At present, the school drop-outs’ rate is extremely high, coupled with the increased usage of drugs, crime and AIDSSincerely,Sahadeo Bates
Lindo Creek CoI The wife of Lindo Creek Massacre victim Clifton ‘Berry’ Wong said she heard the news about miners being killed, but brushed it aside and went about her domestic chores, only to have her entire world collapse later that night.Collette Wong took to the stand before the Commission of Inquiry into the June 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre and tearfully recounted when she received the news of her husband Clifton Wong’s death.Clifton Wong’s daughter, Shaniza Romain, on the standThe woman related that prior to heading into Lindo Creek, her husband had been home to celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday, and while heading into Lindo Creek, he had promised to send some money to celebrate their daughter’s birthday on June 13.The woman said the last communication she had had with her husband was when he stopped at Kwakwani before heading into Lindo Creek, and he had told her, ‘I love you’, and had asked her to take care of their five children.Collette explained that when she did not hear from her husband for their daughter’s birthday, she made contact with his boss, Leonard Arokium, and asked that he contact the camp, which he promised to do.Amidst tears, Collette Wong said her nephew-in-law was the one who had informed her of her husband’s death on June 21, at sometime around 12:30hrs.“I bravely said, ‘Hit me with it,’ he said, ‘You already heard’, and I said there was a newsflash. At that moment I did not panic,” she said. To confirm the news, she then called Arokium, and her worst fears became true.“Upon hearing that, I went upstairs. The children were already in their bed, and I woke them up and said, ‘He is no more! He is no more!’ ” the still grieving woman related before breaking down on the stand.She said her screams were so loud that they woke up the entire neighbourhood, and persons came over to enquire what was going on.She said that apart from media operatives, the family was visited by Social Welfare Officers, but she noted that they did not receive any form of counselling or therapy to deal with their loss.Collette Wong said she was also fearful of the heavy Police presence in her street during the wake held for her husband. She further related that her brother-in-law, Courtney Wong, was asked to provide the Police with an SNA sample, and that the family was never contacted about the burial of her husband’s remains.Also taking the stand was the late Clifton’s daughter, Shaniza Romain, whose birthday he was supposed to send money for. The woman related that when her father did not call her for her birthday, she sensed something was wrong.She said that her father was a family man and would never miss their birthdays, and she still remembers the last present he had given her before he was murdered.Romain recounted that, in 2007, her father had presented her with a pair of gold jingles (bangles) for her birthday, but after his death, the family had to sell those to supplement their finances.Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp being operated by Leonard Arokium.The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the coalition Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002. The CoI was established to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of eight miners, and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.