– no capable relative found to look after them
The four Mahaicony Creek children who the Ministry of Human Services had rescued from dire circumstances in January, have been enrolled in schools in the city and are still in the ministry’s care, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand has revealed.
The minister told Stabroek News that a meeting was held with relatives of the children with the view of placing the children in their care, but it was determined that none of the relatives present at the meeting was capable of taking care of the children.
As a result, she said, the ministry decided to enrol the children in school in the city and they commenced classes last week Monday. She said it was hoped that eventually they would be returned to a relative. She had earlier told Stabroek News that it was not the ministry’s wish to separate the children and that it was preferable that they be placed with a relative, rather than in an orphanage.
The minister said that at the meeting with relatives of the children it was revealed that their father, Gupta Pooranmal, from whose care they were taken, and who appealed for their return, had not changed his lifestyle in anyway even though he had claimed he had stopped drinking.
An uncle of the children, who lives in the same area as the father and who had indicated his willingness to take the children, did not attend the meeting and ministry officials are yet to meet his wife on the issue.
Their mother, 22-year-old Ann Rosita Boodhoo, had stated that while she would love to have her children she could not accommodate them at her present residence.
However, while Stabroek News was told that the building of a house for the woman so she could take care of her children was not off the cards, it has been revealed that her current partner is not in favour of this. He has indicated that the house they are living in is his. However, they are living in an extended family arrangement and there is no hope of the children being accommodated there at present.
Since there was really no one to properly take care of the children the ministry decided to have them remain in its custody.
Ten-year-old Anita Pooranmal along with her siblings, Sanjay called Radesh, 9, Ritesha, 8, and Avinash, 7 were removed from the creek in January after this newspaper highlighted their plight and staff from the ministry visited and saw their condition.
This newspaper had reported that Anita had to tend to her siblings after their mother left them one year ago to escape from her alcoholic and abusive husband.
Boodhoo of Canal Number One Polder had eloped with Gupta at the age of 12. She had told this newspaper that from the time she moved with him to the creek she had suffered hardship and abuse.
The day she walked out “for good” was the third day that she and her children had been without food. She said she begged the children to go with her but only Sanjay agreed.
The father subsequently took the children to stay with her but later returned for them.
After the children were removed from Mahaicony Creek, Gupta had told this newspaper by telephone that he and his uncle Kesarchandra Kawal had gone to the ministry but the children were undergoing medical tests at the hospital and he did not get to see them.
He was told that his children would not be sent back and he begged to have them back because he missed them.
Kawal had also said that Gupta was “crying” a lot for the children and gave the commitment that if they were returned he would help him to care for them.