While they may not be showing physical signs of being affected, relatives said the children are “bottling” everything up and would not speak to them about how they feel. This they say represents a problem, which needs to be addressed urgently.
On February 8, less than a day after she was allegedly stabbed by her husband following an argument, Latoya Conway Woolford succumbed to her injuries at the Georgetown Public Hospital. The husband fled after the incident and attempted to commit suicide. He spent several days in hospital before being taken to court charged with the capital offence.
The woman left behind three children, aged 11, 7 and 4.
During the wee hours of February 15, Deborah Allen was chopped to death by her reputed husband in their Oronoque, Port Kaituma home following an argument over a party.
After inflicting the blows on the woman, the man turned his weapon on her 16-year-old daughter, chopping her across the face. The man subsequently turned himself over to the police.
Hours later the bloodied bodies of Nekecia Rouse and her sister-in-law, Alexis ‘Keisha’ George were discovered in Smythfield, New Amsterdam. They had been stabbed to death. Rouse was the mother of a four-year-old daughter while George had a one-year-old girl. Both girls were in the house when the gruesome discoveries were made. Several suspects were subsequently held but released. Police investigations are continuing.
Then on March 12, two children aged 14 and 11 lost their mother after she was stabbed to death by her former reputed husband moments after she had left her Herstelling, East Bank Deme-rara home. At the time of the incident, the woman who had endured years of abuse and threats from the man, was making her way to the public road to catch transportation to the city where worked.
He is yet to be apprehended.
Since the incident occurred, Savitri Arjune’s children have avoided speaking about it and would find ways to occupy their time.
Speaking to Stabroek News recently, a relative Marie Persaud said that the elder child, Alisa Coo “is not showing signs of stress” but her brother Mark Loochand is and that is worrying them.
The woman said that since the incident the boy has been unwell and has not attended school owing to a concern for his safety.
“This boy just looking sick all the time and he getting a steady fever since the day his mother died,” Persaud said, adding that members of the family are trying their best to help the children cope with the situation.
However, the children have opted not to confide in anyone about how they feel.
The woman said that she is particularly worried about the boy because he will be sitting the National Grade Six examinations next month, and is not going to school.
“They are both keeping everything bottled up… We haven’t decided how we are going to deal with this situation. We want the police to find the man first,” she said adding that counselling could be considered.
Following the incident, relatives had told Stabroek News that the children had also suffered abuse at the hands of the man. He would often throw their clothing out of the house. Their mother would be badly beaten whenever the man was drunk, they said.
For 16-year-old Sherrian Allen, her life is at a standstill and her future is uncertain.
A relative told this newspaper that the teenager is now living at Mabaruma with her maternal grandmother, who is an elderly woman. She is still in danger of losing one of her eyes and is not attending school.
According to the relative, Sherrian was taken back to the interior to attend her mother’s funeral and has not been able to return to the city because of financial constrains.
The woman said the child was to have returned to Georgetown to see an eye specialist but this has not been done and it is unclear when this would become a reality.
The woman who did not want her name mentioned told this newspaper that the teen is supposed to be writing CSEC examinations later this year but has not been attending classes for the past year or so owing to the abusive situation she and her mother were in.
“She needs to come to town so that she could be given an education and some guidance. She also needs medical attention for her eye before she loses it,” then woman pointed out, stressing that family members are trying to work out an arrangement but money is a big problem.
The relative said the death of her mother is affecting the girl tremendously, but she has repeatedly said that she doesn’t want to talk about it.
She said that at the funeral, Sherrian did not shed a tear or say anything but she fainted several times.
Following the death, she added, the girl could not sleep alone because she said she was seeing her mother attempting to touch the spot where she was chopped.
The woman said that although the teen would say she was alright, she does not believe her.
She expressed the view that the teen needs counselling as she witnessed the entire ordeal and was also a victim herself.
Woolford’s three children would often be seen sitting together talking about her. There would be no tears but talk, not only of their mother but sometimes of their father.
An aunt, Barbara Russell, said that seven-year-old Maycian who was closest to the mother would speak the most, sometimes with the adults in the home, about the incident. The woman said that she has noticed that since the incident occurred 11-year-old Marcianna has become more helpful and taken on a motherly role towards her younger siblings.
Marcianna she said will be sitting the National Grade Six examinations shortly and from what she has been observing, the tragedy has not affected the child’s studies.
The third child, four-year-old Shamar, Russell added, would lash out in anger at times. He knows that his mother is no longer here, she added.
The woman said that they are all trying to help the children cope with the incident and they are currently attending counselling sessions. “Although they get counselling, they will still remember it,” she stressed.
Rouse’s daughter, Crystal Stephenson is aware that her mother was killed and would often be heard telling people this. She is four years old.
Recently her grandmother June Joseph told this newspaper that the child and her one year-old cousin Omotoya Rouse were too young to understand what happened to their mothers. Omotoya Rouse was George’s daughter.
She said that despite everything that has happened they are trying to cope.
Joseph said that Omotoya was breastfeeding at the time of her mother’s death and would often call for “mama”.
She expressed the view that the incident could affect them later in life when they learned the details of the deaths.
Asked if she shows the girls photographs of their mothers, she responded in the negative saying that would be done when they are older.