(GUYANA CHRONICLE) — While many may see the recent fiasco on social media with the two Berbician sisters, Tina and Mona Ramsew, as intolerant, many may have missed the underlying issues that resulted in their behaviour.
On Friday, the two sisters and their family met with Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency with responsibility for Youth Affairs, Simona Broomes, at the Cara Lodge in Georgetown, to share their side of the story.
Both Tina and Mona first apologised for their behaviour that was posted on the Internet. The sisters said that it was out of provocation and frustration that they behaved in that manner.
“I would like to apologise for all the negative words that I said in the station towards the police and the names that I called [them]. I know it wasn’t right but it was due to frustration. I said it out of frustration. I’m not racist. I have nothing against Indian people or African people, or any of the races in Guyana. Out of frustration I said stuff that I didn’t want to say,” Tina told the Guyana Chronicle.
Noting further that the whole experience has added to the depression she is currently battling with.
“The whole experience depressed me. I’m depressed with everything that’s going on now and how they treated us at the station. It was very irritating. We’re human beings just like them and should not have been treated like that. They treated us like animals. I still have marks of violence on my skin, it is still hurting,” the 22-year-old said.
Mona, who is the elder sister, said that the police pointed guns in their faces and told them provoking things that caused them to lash out in the manner they did. Nonetheless, the young mother of one said that she is truly sorry for her behaviour that day. In fact, Mona said this year had dealt her several blows, all of which she is still battling with.
She said that in May of this year, she was raped by a Pandit in her village, and the matter is currently at the DPP waiting to be called. Amidst that, she recently went through a divorce from a husband who was abusive.
There was also a video of her that the husband made and posted on social media. All these traumatic experiences caused Mona to attempt suicide more than 20 times. Now the recent Police station video is but another experience added to her trauma.
However, Mona said that Steve Harvey helps to pull her out of her depression, and she is continuously making efforts to ensure that she lives a meaningful life.
In fact, she said she is very artistic, as she does paintings, poetry and writes music. She is also competing in the Chutney Monarch 2020.
“Depression, the more you sit down, the more it takes you over. So every day I try to find something to do. I write, I paint, I draw and I make music. Now we’re very popular, all over the country, so we will eventually use our platform to positively influence other young girls. But right now we’re dealing with everything that is happening right now, then we will later focus on releasing positive energy into society,” Mona said.
Her song for Chutney Monarch she said she wrote in 10 minutes, and it speaks to the love she has for her country and it speaks to unity amongst our people. Also present at Cara Lodge with the sisters was Trauma and Moral injury Specialist, Sharmin Prince, who will be assisting with counselling the sisters over the next few months.
Prince told this newspaper that she saw the anger, frustration and resentment being displayed in the video, and she knew that something had to have been happening in their lives.
“The thing is, there is a lot of underlying trauma occurring in both Mona and Tina’s life. Those underlying trauma are triggers and being in the police station with men can be a trigger because as a victim of domestic violence and rape it’s a violation. So being violated in any form would trigger the anger, would trigger the resentment. Thus, we saw those behaviours in the video. So I’m here to provide my expertise and you would see the results in a few months,” Prince said.
She alluded that the actions displayed in the video is the face of mental health, and many people know of mental health but they have no idea what it looks like. The sisters’ outburst, she said, is a representation of what mental illness looks like, since they both were diagnosed with depression.
Minister Broomes said that when the sisters reached out to her for help, she remembered the scripture, “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone”, and she believed that they should be given the air to apologise and turn their lives around to be young advocates.
“When it comes to women and girls and troubled situations, I really do have a deep passion for that. This is who I am. I cannot have two young girls reaching out to me for help, and turn a deaf ears or a blind eye. I have to stop and give them guidance and advice. That is all they need,” Broomes said.
The sisters will be receiving counselling over the next couple and months, and Prince assured that the country will see a transformation in their lives.