For twenty-one-year-old Lukeisha Clarke, this will be a “black Christmas” as she will spend it hoping for justice instead of fancy presents.
Clarke sustained burns about her body after she was shocked by a livewire, which burst after indiscriminate shooting by a policeman two months ago. Christmas is the only holiday that she always plans and prepares for in style, but this year instead of spending time cooking delicious meals for her family she will have to be served.
Clarke and her childhood friend, Althea McPherson, who both reside at Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara (WBD) sustained burns about their bodies after they were shocked by a live wire on October 10. However, while McPherson was treated for minor burns and sent home, Clarke who is seven months pregnant was admitted at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) Burn Care Unit. She was only sent home a few days ago to spend the holiday with her family and will return to hospital in the new year to receive further treatment.
McPherson had informed this newspaper that she was standing opposite the Good Times bar, located near her home at Pouderoyen, when she saw Clarke at her stall, which she operates in the vicinity. It was while they were standing together that McPherson said she heard loud explosions like gunshots but she wasn’t sure of the source. She added that she started to panic and shouted to Clarke to run when she saw the cable overhead on fire. They ran but the cable fell and entangled them. Persons rushed to render assistance to the women but had difficulty since the severed wire was sparking. The two woman were left unconscious on the roadway for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, before being rushed to the hospital.
Clarke, who is expecting her first child by early February has so far undergone a series of skin graft surgeries to repair the burns she sustained to her back.
During a telephone interview, she told this newspaper that she is desperate to recover quickly so that she will be able to experience the joy of taking care of her newborn. “I am very fortunate to be home with my family at this time of the year but knowing that you have to return to the hospital just to recover is not something welcoming,” she said adding that she has begun to give up on receiving justice. “…Because like it doesn’t matter how much we do we ain’t getting nowhere with it,” Clarke stated.
The women’s injuries have placed a financial burden on both their families, who have been struggling to earn a dollar to maintain them.
McPherson said she is hoping that she still has her job as a security guard as since the incident she has been on continuous sick leave. On the other hand, Clarke’s mother lost her job because she was forced to take care of her.
According to McPherson, “I can’t even think of no Christmas this year because while everyone does like do they shopping up and so, I don’t even have money. So Christmas this year is just like a normal day for me, studying if I will even get a daily meal.”
She has been unable to walk for the past two months because the burns she sustained to her feet have not healed. Her sister has been taking care of her and her two children.
McPherson’s burns require dressing every day and she said it is costly for her family to transport her to hospital for this to be done.
Both women said that they have tried endlessly to seek justice but the case has eventually turned into another “cold one”. This, they believe, is because the perpetrator is a member of the police force and they sense a cover-up in the matter.
“We never see this person. He didn’t even come and see if we alive or what, or offer some money or anything so that you would say you know he got interest,” McPherson said.