Police question mother of one
Stabroek News
May 5, 2002

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A 31-year-old mother of one was yesterday evening questioned by the police after they had fired at her house in Preminiranjan Place, Prashad Nagar, Georgetown.

But Althea Carto claimed last night that contrary to reports, the building she lives in was not being used as a safe haven for bandits. Recounting the events, the woman said that she returned home some time after 1700 hrs, after purchasing food for herself and son at Salt and Pepper Restaurant on Robb Street. She said that after eating, she and her eight-year-old son fell asleep in the sitting room, only to be awakened by gunshots. Carto said this was shortly before 1800 hrs.

"I grab my son and run under the bed... and I just keep calling my aunt and my sisters and my neighbour... He keep saying he frighten and he drop back to sleep under the bed and when he hear a shot, he jump up and say, `Mommy, come out,'" Carto told reporters at about 2145 hrs, just after being released by the police. She claimed she and her child had been taken into custody and placed to lie in one of the police vehicles, where she was questioned for some hours before being released at about 2130 hrs.

But while under the bed, the woman said, she had heard footsteps in the apartment above her, and subsequently the police kicked at her door as they tried to gain entry. At that stage, Carto said, she shouted out her location and the police ordered her to come out. She claimed that there had been no bandits firing back at the police.

Carto said that the police ransacked her home. She claimed also to be unable to locate her working bag and US$50 which she had before the police went through the flat.

The house is reportedly owned by one Reginald Martin, who resides in New York. According to the young woman, the upper flat is usually reserved for Martin and his relatives whenever they are in the country and that the keys are usually left with her. However, she maintained that she had not given anyone access to the place.

"They say I encouraging bandits upstairs... I say nobody lives upstairs," she said of her interview with the police. Carto is an employee of the Guyana Public Service Credit Union.

When questioned by a member of the press, the woman admitted that a man also lived with her, but said he was "just family." Asked about the man's whereabouts, she was unable to say. Neither could she say where he worked. Carto admitted, however, that a young woman had visited the house asking for the man just before the police arrived and she had invited her to wait, since the man was not at home.

The other woman too, Carto claimed, was taken into police custody. She recalled that one of the officers had asked her a question and while she was answering him, another had hit her.

"One ask me a question and because I was speaking, another one give me one box in my face," Carto alleged.