An Agonizing Asue Ordeal
By Cleopatra Murphy
Freeport News Reporter
Asues are a longstanding practice in Bahamian society, but one young woman is crying fowl after she entered into an asue and months after she expected to collect her money, she still has not received it.
Now Kenricka Brown said she wants other persons to learn from her mistake and be careful who they give their money to "because not everyone is trustworthy."
"I have never once had to run anybody down for my money and I never thought that this could happen to me or that this would have happened, because if I knew she was this type of person I wouldn't have went in," Brown said.
The now disillusioned Brown said she joined an asue with a woman by the name of Kendera Strachan and it was scheduled to run from May until the end of September.
She was slated to collect the third draw in July, but when she contacted Strachan, she was informed that two persons had dropped out and she did not know how to tell her.
According to Brown, Strachan asked her if she could wait until August 31.
She said Strachan owes her $2,000, however the draw would have been more, but she stopped paying after Strachan failed to give her the money.
"It inconvenienced me, because I had plans on what I wanted to do with my money, so it meant I had to scrap around to find money to do what I had to do," she said.
Brown said even more damning was that she learned on August 29 that Strachan owed money to two other women.
She said August 31 passed and she still did not receive her money, and she is now going to take the matter to court if she does not get her money.
"This is ridiculous and it's bad when people can mess people over with things like this," Brown said.
Brown said she always paid her money on time, so she expected to be given the same courtesy.
Brown said she has spoken with Strachan who offered to give her the money in installments, first offering $1,000 and then dropping to $500, but she wants all of her money like she should have gotten it.
She added that Strachan said she was attempting to pawn her car and additionally had someone speak with her on her behalf, but Brown said she remains adamant in her stance.
"She wasn't being sincere with me when she was spending my money," she said. "I asked her what she did with my money and she said she invested her money into something else and I asked, isn't the reason for you getting the first draw was to hold it in the event that something like this happened, so how could you spend the money?"
Brown said she has been in several asue's before and has never had an experience like this one.
In fact, she said she only joined Strachan's because her aunt, whose asue she usually joins, decided that she did not want to handle large draws anymore and someone told her about Strachan.
"I mainly went in this asue to get a car. I talked to her and this woman sounded like she had a plan and she was so trustworthy," Brown said.
She said during her many discussions with Strachan she has heard many different reasons as to why she has not received her asue draw yet.
Brown said she has learned a hard lesson from this experience and will never again join an asue operated by someone she does not know.
"I'll either stick to saving my money or putting it in the bank," she said. "I was willing to step out of my circle and give someone else a chance, but it's ridiculous."
Community activist Troy Garvey, who accompanied Brown said nobody should be allowed to take people's money and do as they like.
"Asues have become a binding, legal contract organization and the police are not playing with them. For people who are making a little bit of money and for people to take their money, it's absolutely unacceptable and we are going to take this further and this will be a legal challenge if she does not come up with the money," she said.
Garvey said he and Brown would attempt to reason with Strachan one last time and if she does not come up with the funds, charges would be pressed.
"You have to set a precedence and like Ms. Brown said, there are others. Who knows who else is a victim of asue holders and like I told the lady, once you are an asue holder you are responsible whether someone steals the money or whatever. That's why you are the holder, to protect the person's money by all means."
Garvey added that Brown has a binding contract and still has her receipts and they simply want her to be given her money as promised.
"She has caused a lot of inconvenience for this young lady and her little sister who was not able to get all her necessary items for school," he said. "If she doesn't come up with the money by the date we give her we will move swiftly with the justice system."
When The Freeport News contacted Strachan about Brown's claims, she acknowledged the relationship with Brown, but offered no comment on the matter.
© 2012 The Freeport News