By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- A father whose daughter was taken from his home by police officers in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, March 7, 2014, has accused police officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force of ‘sloppy work and poor investigation’.
Pastor Bernard Browne told Nevispages that on Friday, March 7, 2014 a number of police officers came to his Cole Hill residence with a warrant and conducted a search on his premises. According to the Pastor, during the search one of the officers pulled him aside and asked him if he was aware that his daughter’s name ‘is being called in a shooting incident that took place in New Castle a few days ago’.
Browne told the officer that he was certainly aware, but he could give evidence to his daughter’s whereabouts on that particular day. Nonetheless, his daughter, Watisha Browne was taken from his home sometime after 4:00 a.m. and transported to the Charlestown Police Station by police transport.
Browne further told this publication that he waited until about 9:00 a.m. then he journeyed to the station to seek information about his daughter’s detention. At the station he said he spoke to Superintendant, Hilroy Brandy, who informed him that based on information received, “they say they saw her in New Castle”. Here, Pastor Browne said he informed the Superintendant that the information he received was false since he knew for a fact that his daughter was with him at a bank in town during the morning of the event and later they to a mechanic shop and waited for her vehicle to be fixed.
With the realization that police officers were basing their investigation on ‘hearsay’ Pastor Browne said he conducted his own investigation in an effort to prove his daughter’s innocence. Browne said he went to the St. Kitts- Nevis Anguilla National Bank and was able to retrieve a transaction slip and also collected an Invoice from a Mechanic Shop as evidence to prove that Watisha, his daughter, was nowhere close the region where the shooting occurred.
Still unsatisfied with the evidence, Browne indicated that officers went to speak to the owner of the mechanic shop who informed them that she was indeed at his shop at the time. As a result Watisha was released from police custody sometime after 4: 00 p.m. after spending about 12 hours at the station.
It is the opinion of Pastor Browne that police officers cannot just ‘arrest’ people by ‘hearsay’. He believes that it is unfair and unjust that his daughter was taken from his home and brought to the station without any evidence that she was in fact involved in the shooting. According to Browne, an arrest such as this could leave his daughter and his family as a possible target.
Furious and disappointed with the investigation by police officers here on Nevis, Browne said an innocent girl was arrested and now her name has been tarnished. Browne believes if he was not able to provide the officers with the evidence his daughter would have been remanded to prison.
In this ordeal Browne wants to thank the National Bank for going to the extreme by providing him with the copy of the withdrawal slip and also to Mechanic shop for cooperating with the police officers.
Browne hopes that in the future officers will conduct meaningful investigations before making an arrest. According to him, “to arrest someone by ‘hearsay’ is unethical, lazy and sloppy work by officers”.
This incident stemmed from a shooting that took place in New Castle on Thursday, February 27, 2014 that left two young males scaling a shop railing for their lives. One of the youngsters received a bullet graze to his toe. It is alleged, that the driver of the getaway vehicle was a female.