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– Nigel Hughes stands by statement that she was detained for remaining silent during police interview
Attorney representing Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers, Nigel Hughes is standing by his comments that she was being detained after choosing to remain silent during an interview with police on Tuesday.
Up to the time of this article Myers was still being held at the BV Police Station.
Police early Wednesday said Mayers was being held for alleged “conspiracy to defraud”.
On Tuesday evening, Myers spent the night on the cold ground of the Beterverwagting (BV) Police Station, according to her close friend. Myers had visited the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) voluntarily on Tuesday morning after she learned that the police wanted her for questioning in relation to the ongoing investigations of electoral fraud during the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
When the Village Voice contacted Hughes on Tuesday he told the newspaper that he had just finished speaking to his client and she was locked in a cell at the BV station after the Police questioned her but she exercised her right to remain silent. He said that she was being held for “obstruction of justice”.
Her attorneys requested bail on her behalf but this was denied. According to her close friend, Mellissa Ifill, Myers –who has a comorbidity—spent the night at the station among police officers who were disregarding the COVID-19 guidelines, walking around with runny noses and wearing no face masks.
“So, my friend and sister Roxanne Prince Myers sleeps tonight on a concrete floor in a locked cell at BV Police Station. She only had newspapers spread on the concrete to lie on but the police said the concrete gets cold so we secured cardboard and 2 yoga mats to try to make her ‘comfortable’. The officers were empathetic, courteous and professional (to us) but they also either prefer to not wear masks during this pandemic or wear them on their chins,” Ifill shared on her Facebook page.
“Keeping Roxanne Prince Myers in custody for ‘obstruction of justice’, who is diabetic on insulin, when she voluntarily submitted herself to questioning once she heard she was being sought is a direct and I dare say deliberate threat to her life. I’ve only ever known Roxanne as a woman of integrity, faith and love. She was a comrade in multiple struggles over many years fighting for the rights of ordinary Guyanese, brutalised by agents of the State.”
In a press statement on Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner, Royston Andries-Junor denied that Myers was arrested for exercising her right to remain silent or for obstruction of justice as reported by her lawyers.
Andries-Junor said that the DCEO was arrested on October 6, 2020 after she turned herself in at the CID Headquarters in the company of her Attorneys. He said that, for over a month, the police made efforts to contact Myers but she eluded investigators.
The Assistant Commissioner noted that a Wanted Bulletin was prepared for Myers but, before it was issued, she turned up at CID Headquarters and was “promptly arrested for the offence of conspiracy to defraud” after which she then exercised her right to remain silent.
“Ms. Myers remains in Police custody as the investigation continues into her actions during the post-March 2, 2020 elections incidents is ongoing. The GPF wishes to reiterate that Ms. Myers was not detained by the Police because she remained silent, contrary to statements attributed to Mr. Hughes in the press. This is a distortion of the truth and the GPF rejects same,” the Assistant Commissioner stated.
When asked to respond to the police claims, Hughes said: “I repeat and fully rely on what I said before in relation to the incident. I invite them to release the video tape of the interview.” Asked whether he has seen any signs of the police releasing his client today, Hughes answered in the negative.
Meanwhile, Coordinator of STEM Guyana, Karen Abrams said that the arrest of Myers has been dwelling on her mind as Myers was a classmate of hers in High School. She appealed to leaders in society to do more to represent Myers as how she is treated reflects the character of the Guyanese society.
“I am appealing to those with connections and influence to represent her. You do not have to do it publicly but I appeal to you for your help. We are soon to become a wealthy nation (if we don’t devolve into civil strife), and it is therefore even more imperative that our judicial system be seen to be fair and without bias. It is a universal democratic truth that people are assumed innocent until proven guilty and we must insist on equal justice for all,” Abrams said.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has vowed to go after those who they believe have played a role in electoral fraud although evidence has been slow with the original cases against the CEO, Keith Lowenfield and Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo.
Since the elections, in less than a month, the police also arrested GECOM Assistants, Carolyn Mikhaik Duncan, Sheffern February, and Michelle Miller as well as supervisor during the national recount, Enrique Livan. These are apart from the Lowenfield, Mingo, and former Health Minister and Chairperson of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), Volda Lawrence.