May 03, 2015 News
Police at Enmore have detained a male drug addict who started a fire that demolished a two-flat wooden building at 553 14th Street, Foulis, East Coast Demerara yesterday.
The blaze left his elderly mother and father with just the clothes on their backs.
The young man, whose name was given as Amir Bassalut, has been threatening to burn his parents’ house down whenever they refused to give him money to support his drug addict.
Yesterday, he made good on the threat after his mother Barbara, a seamstress, refused to give in to his demand for cash to buy drugs.
Residents said that the woman first had to seek refuge at a neighbour’s house when her son began his threatening behaviour.
It was while she was at the police station making a report that the man set fire to the house, even as neighbours tried to dissuade him.
Esther Cort, a neighbour who lives oblique to the burnt house, recalled that it was around 16:00 hours when she was informed by her granddaughter that something was talking place at Bassalut’s house.
She was not surprised since there was always some commotion coming from the house. But she nevertheless went outside to investigate, since she happens to be a Rural Constable.
She said that she saw that the suspect had placed several of his mother’s household items, including her sewing machine which brings in her income, on the road. There was no fire at the time.
Suspecting that the young man was in his usual abusive mind and sensing that things might get out of hand this time, Cort summoned help from another Rural Constable in the area, who she advised to contact the police.
Cort said that she eventually confronted Bassalut and questioned him about the way he was behaving. He responded by verbally abusing her too.
The police eventually arrived on the scene and Bassalut’s mother who was at the neighbor, came out.
According to Cort, the woman was reluctant to cooperate with the police at first but she forcefully persuaded her.
“It’s a constant thing; every day she has to find money to give him to smoke and if she can’t find it, he would torment she and beat she,” Cort emphasized.
The police tried to apprehend the young man but he managed to escape. They eventually left the scene with his mother from whom they wanted a statement about the abuse.
“Many times he threaten her and he would break up the house and when I call the police, she (mother) would buse me; she would stop talking to me and he would curse me…But I don’t mind; I continue to do my duty as an RC,” Cort stated.
She said that after the police left, the young man returned to the house and began breaking the windows.
“Is go I go in to call the police to get a back-up to apprehend this man and when I came out I see the front bedroom ablaze and he ran away,” Cort told Kaieteur News.
She said she called out to other neighbours but they initially appeared reluctant to help put out the fire.
Eventually a bucket brigade was formed but it could not contain the blaze.
Khayum Bassalut, the arsonist’s father, told this newspaper that he was at work in the nearby village of Enmore, when he got word that his house was on fire.
He said that although the burning of his house has devastated him, he was not surprised, since his son had always threatened to do it.
“He does want fuh fight me too but he can’t mek it. When you see me deh home here, he nah get de chance fuh do nothing, but just as me lef de house, he ah fight he mother fuh money because me nah give am money,” Kayum explained.
He said that by the time he arrived at the scene there was nothing he could do to save any of his personal belongings.
“Wha me get? Me nah get wan pants and shirt more than wah me get on,” Khayum Bassalut said.
Police eventually captured his son who they say will definitely face the court soon.
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