A fatal chopping which occurred two years ago has finally seen some headway, after the accused made an appearance in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Charged with the murder of 48-year-old Keith Josiah of Kitty is Damien Carter.
Carter was apprehended by police last Monday, after being on the run for two years, and appeared before Magistrate Priya Beharry yesterday afternoon.
According to Police Prosecutor Stephen Telford, on July 28, 2008, Carter and Josiah were involved in a dispute over Josiah allegedly ‘peeping’ into Carter’s yard. The argument escalated and Carter retrieved a cutlass with which he chopped Josiah about the head.
Josiah’s injuries were severe enough to have him admitted to the Georgetown Hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
Carter, who was defended by Attorney-at-law Adrian Thompson, was not required to plead to the indictable offence. Thompson said that his client is ready for the inquiry and he hopes that the PI (Preliminary Inquiry) will be conducted within a reasonable time.
Carter was remanded to prison pending his next court hearing on September 7.
Meanwhile, the family of Keith Josiah told this newspaper two days ago that they were shocked to hear that Josiah’s killer had been apprehended and would be brought before the courts. The dead man’s relatives stated that they had given up on ever getting justice for Josiah. Josiah’s wife had reportedly left him for the accused and Josiah had apparently been trying to effect reconciliation with her when it cost him his life.
Template to arrest domestic violence in the making
– Human Services Ministry, Help on Shelter onboard
Fuelled by the belief that ‘violence grows like a vine’, an innovative Foundation has been introduced into the local society which has a focus on reducing the prevalence of violence against women and children. And it is expected that the use of the arts and education will play a major role in achieving this objective.
The Foundation, which is just about one year in the making, has been regarded by its founder Margaret Clemons, as “the beginning of a long-term beautiful affair. It has got to work in Guyana; it must work in Guyana…When I have a template in place, and that will happen over the course of many years, with cultural tweaking it can go anywhere.”
Through the movement which has been labelled the Margaret Clemons Foundation, it is expected that behavioural change will be invoked into the society as a crucial means of stymieing the problem of domestic violence. Clemons is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and Help and Shelter.
At a press conference yesterday, Clemons, in the company of Arts and Education Researcher and Consultant of Stanford University, Lauren Stevenson, and Help and Shelter representatives Margaret Kertzious and Tessa Greene, unveiled the dynamics of the programme.
And an association with Help and Shelter was forged as according to Clemons, “I have been very impressed with Help and Shelter…I like to describe it as the most well oiled machine and (its dealing with) the issue of the defence of women and children is fantastic.”
Additionally, Clemons lauded the leadership of Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, who “has helped to make it easy to bring on aboard a sustainable programme.”
Clemons revealed she had opted to partner with Leslie University in Cambridge Massachusetts, United States, which had written the programming to bring the arts to teacher education through creative arts therapy and counsellor training.
According to Clemons, she had approached the university about her findings in Guyana and made a proposal which amplified Guyana as a perfect place to bring such programming. It was just last March that the programme really took off following a visit here by some key officials from the university on a fact-finding mission.
The Foundation, Clemons noted, has a donor base in the United States and so far some five persons including Help and Shelter’s Tessa Greene and four others – Oslyn Crawford, Yogetta Rampersaud, Gavin Munroe and Wesley Albert –from the Human Services Ministry have received sponsorship for training to aid the full realisation of the programme.
Those sponsored were able to participate in a community programme offered by the university and according to Clemons, further sponsorship maybe possible.
“I have brought a concept to Help and Shelter and the Ministry of moving forward with programming for 2011 which is a train the trainers model for social workers and social services providers, that is a one-year certificate programme…specifically for the population in Guyana.”
The aim of the venture is to arrest the incidence of violence in the home and other social institutions by raising awareness about the need for societal action. Clemons noted that societal inaction has been one of the factors that have served to foster the prevalence of violence.
“When we are aware that someone in our family, neighbourhood, or an employee is a victim of violence and we are unable to act in the face of that violence even though we know it is wrong and dangerous…it allows the violence to grow.”
But even with a template in place and the Ministry of Human Services onboard, Clemons asserted that her foundation will in no way propose the need for added legislations.
“I have no interest in having any role in legislations…Government does what the Government does and that is not my business, it is really about a grassroot effort but in a different way using the arts to change people.”
Meanwhile, as a follow up to the programme, Clemons revealed that she has invited Minister Manickchand to be honoured at the University for her work in defence for women and children in Guyana. According to her there is a great deal of interest in the academic community in Cambridge to understand the obstacles that the Minister had faced when she was appointed to her position, and to understand how she was able to overcome same and to grasp an appreciation for her forward plan.
The Minister has been identified as the keynote speaker when she makes an appearance at the university in October. That month is regarded as the global domestic violence recognition month and several other outstanding domestic violence activists are also slated to attend and be honoured at the forum.
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