With one week left of her summer vacation one 13-year-old girl’s life has suddenly turned into a nightmare.
In the telling of her mother: “My daughter has not slept since Monday after looking on as police turned our house topsy-turvy. Also watching was my 3-year-old grandson.”
Beverley Ann Thomas, once a popular local model, complained that in her absence the following day the police also questioned the minors.
Now the operator of her own salon, Beverley on Thursday revisited her ordeal for the purposes of the STAR.
“On Monday August 26, around 3.30 in the afternoon, I was returning to my shop on St. Louis Street in Castries after I had gone out to purchase some products, when I noticed a vehicle parked outside my salon. I was about to open the front entrance when three policemen came out of the parked vehicle.
“ One of them identified himself, then asked if my name was Beverly Thomas. I said yes. I was then told that they had a warrant to search my premises for a stolen gun and amunition. Of course, having never been involved in any kind of criminal activity, I was shocked. But having nothing to hide I allowed them to proceed.”
According to Beverly, the officer who had identified himself and showed her the warrant was PC 342 John.
“While the search involving six officers was in progress, I was told that my home would also be searched. I was then taken aboard the police vehicle to Pavee where I was further shocked to find another six policemen at my home. One was in the balcony and another was coming out of the house.”
She said she was by this time almost hysterical and in tears but she nevertheless cooperated with the cops. She allowed three officers to conduct a search of her home in her presence.
“I went with them into the bedroom. Meanwhile another three were searching the rest of the house. I think this is wrong and unfair. With all that is happening with the police these days, you never know what they could have done while I wasn’t looking. But they found nothing in my shop and nothing in the house.”
Beverly Thomas claims she was asked to accompany the offices to CID where she was detained and further questioned. No reason was given for her arrest.
Finally she asked to speak to her lawyer. “I called a few times but did not get a response. He later called back and asked to speak to PC John.
“He explained to the officer that he could not come right away, so they took some statements from me and called in a JP. After I had read the document the JP signed on behalf of my lawyer.”
By the time she was allowed to return to her kids it was well after 9 pm.
She said: “That night all my grandson could talk about was mummy gun, gun, police gun.” “To tell you the truth,” she went on, “I could not sleep. I stayed up all night crying. My daughter was a total mess.”
The next morning Beverly Thomas returned to her shop, having lost an entire business day the previous Monday. “I got a text message on my phone that morning from my neighbour telling me that the police were at my house again. I went crazy when I heard that and again I was thinking about my daughter and grandson who were both in the house at the time.”
She said she tried calling her daughter several times but could not reach her. So, she hurriedly closed her shop and went home.
“I met another of my daughters at the bottom of the hill and she confirmed the police were in the house. I did not know what to think. When I got to the house they were just leaving. My thirteen-year old looked all shaken up and scared.”
Thomas said the worst thoughts rushed through her mind as she contemplated what the offices may have put her children through in her absence.
Her daughter filled her in: “She said she heard a knock on the door and when she checked she saw it was the police. They asked her to open up. Then the police took her into the bedroom and asked
her to show them where the gun was. She told them there was no gun and they told her to stop lying. They then saw some male clothing items and asked my daughter whom did they belong to. They actually asked the child what man I was sleeping with. Why would the police put a question like that to a child?”
Beverly Thomas says she is still traumatized by the idea of three burly policemen alone in a room with her 13-year-old daughter.
She says the cops found nothing after their searches. But the after effects on herself and family remain. She adds that she has filed a complaint with the police complaints department and will undertake a one-woman street protest if nothing is done.
“This is not just about me,” she said, “this is about human rights, children’s rights and the rights of every decent citizen in this country.”