A retired head teacher is currently in a critical condition at a city hospital after she and her home were set ablaze by her husband, after she reportedly refused to provide him with $500 to purchase alcohol.
Debra Mootoo, 58, sustained severe burns about her body from her shoulders down while her Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara home was destroyed after the attack, which occurred sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning.
Mootoo is currently admitted in the Burn Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), where her condition is listed as critical.
Commander of ‘C’ Division Leslie James yesterday confirmed to Stabroek News that the suspect, Prakash Ramdeo, was arrested. He remained in custody up to late yesterday afternoon, pending charges.
Marissa Persaud, the injured woman’s only child, told Stabroek News that based on what her mother related to her, Ramdeo, who is an alcoholic, tied her up with a mosquito net before dousing her with kerosene and setting her alight after she refused to provide him with $500.
The fire quickly spread and engulfed the one-bedroom wooden house, located at Lot 209 Block 8 Mon Repos, which Mootoo shared with Ramdeo for the past eight years.
“…She said that he (Ramdeo) start drinking and stuff and he wanted $500 and she seh she ain’t had no money fuh give he and he tie she up with the netting and throw kero on she and light she on fire,” Persaud explained.
Persaud said Mootoo was rescued by alert residents and rushed to the hospital by a community pastor.Persaud said she learnt of what transpired after she received a call from a cousin around 1 am on Monday. “Me cousin call me and seh that me mommy house burn down and she deh in hospital,” she said.
The woman, who resides at La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, said she immediately left for the hospital but took about three hours to get transportation. “….And when I came I found her in the emergency unit,” Persaud added.
She further explained that Ramdeo does not work and has relied on Mootoo to maintain him.
The teary-eyed woman said she cannot say if it was the first instance where Ramdeo harmed her mother, while noting that Mootoo usually keeps to herself. “Normally when he start drinking she would leave and go… every time that he start drinking she would leave and go to she friends them,” Persaud said.