Hotel owner, miner remanded for trafficking Venezuelan women

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A Brazilian hotel owner and a miner were remanded to prison on Friday for allegedly trafficking two Venezuelan women and exploiting them.

Christina Rodriquez Gomes, 32, the owner of Ola Hotel, located at Charlotte Street and Arnold Melville, 50, of Iteringbang, Cuyuni River, appeared before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan.

The two charges against Gomes alleged that between November 4, 2018 and November 28, 2018 at the Ola Hotel, she engaged in Trafficking in Person by harbouring the two Venezuelan women by abusing her position for the purpose of labour exploitation.

She was not required to plea to the two indictable charges.

It is also alleged that between the same date and location, she knowingly confiscated their travel documents. She pleaded not guilty to these two charges.

Her Attorney, Siand Dhurjon, in his unsuccessful plea for bail, told the Court that about three weeks ago, his client needed cooks at the hotel for her Latino customers and that the Venezuelan nationals applied but were later hired as maids and were paid $12,000 weekly.

Dhurjon argued that there are pay slips to prove these claims along with CCTV footageshowing that the two women were not held against their will.

“This problem came about over a dispute between Gomes and the two women,” the Attorney told the court.

However, Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield opposed to Gomes being released on bail on the grounds that she is not a Guyanese national.

Dhurjon, however, explained that Gomes has been living in Guyana for over 11 years, is married to a Guyanese national and also has a 10-year-old son.

However, the Chief Magistrate remanded her to prison until January 3, 2019.

Meanwhile, Melville was charged separately for also trafficking the two women.

It is alleged that between November 4, 2018, and November 28, 2018, at Iteringbang, he assisted Gomes by recruiting and transporting the two women by means of deception for the purpose of labour exploitation.

He was not required to plea to the two indictable charges and was represented by Attorney-at-law, Clyde Forde. He was remanded to prison until March 19, 2018, and is slated to appear at the Kamarang Magistrate’s Court.

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