-Was locked away in filthy room for almost a year
By Kiana Wilburg
For almost a year, a 31-year-old woman of Richmond Village, Essequibo, was locked
away from the outside world by her mother. Her bedroom floor was covered in thick layers of faeces fermenting in urine, garbage, spoiled food and maggots. From just a few feet away from her grilled window, the stench could burn your nose.
The woman, who is said to be mentally ill, was yesterday morning, a day after her birthday, rescued from the ghastly conditions in which she was living.
But the reasons for her 62-year-old mother’s decision to treat her in such a manner still elude residents as well as local authorities. The situation has left villagers with the firm belief that it will go down as one of Essequibo’s most disgusting stories as it relates to mental health issues.
The matter actually came to the forefront yesterday when a concerned resident appealed to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to make a much needed intervention in the matter. Nagamootoo was at the time, taking notes on several issues which were being brought to his attention at the “Public Day” meeting which was hosted by the Ministry of the Presidency at Perth Park.
The woman told Nagamootoo that the residents tried everything – from informing the welfare officers in the area to the police – but nothing was done. Immediately, the First Vice President called upon police officers who were present at the meeting to investigate the matter.
Reporters went to the Anna Regina Police Station to await the arrival of nurses and other police officers in preparation for the visit to the home where the woman was essentially being held captive.
It was there that the resident provided more details on how the unfortunate incident had its origin.
She said, “She (name provided) was a bright young woman with an ambitious future, but her mother is a wicked woman. The mother started treating her like she was a dog because she fell in love with an African boy and her mother did not approve of it. The boy was not some nobody. He was a decent boy, a Christian. But after the mother realise that the daughter would not give up this boy she started locking her up in a room in the house. Everything went downhill from there.”
A brother of the mentally-ill woman told Kaieteur News a different story. He denied that his sister was in love with someone his mother disapproved of.
In fact, he claimed that his sister just started suffering from mental problems “out of the blue”. He said that his sister got ill about seven years ago and had to leave her job as a nurse in the city. He however admitted that his mother did place his sister in a room against her will. He said that this only happened about a year ago and not five or six years as the residents had claimed.
He said that the mental illness made his sister violent and his mother was left with no other option but to resort to that means as a way of controlling her.
The brother reflected, “We try everything. Locking she up wasn’t the best thing, but wuh we go do ? She use to beat me mother and mek me mother can’t get access to de place. She even use to lick me down pon the ground. She used to behave so bad we can’t even get fuh bathe she. Me sorry for me sister. And plus yesterday was she birthday an all.”
When members of the media along with nurses and police officers arrived at the Lot 68 Richmond Village home, the woman’s mother, broke down in tears. Without being asked, she led the way to where her daughter was being held.
The door of the room, which had a black padlock, also had a square opening at the top half measuring about 12 cm by 12 cm. Persaud said that when her daughter was in a violent mood she (mother) would not open the door but simply push her plate through the hole.
The daughter was found lying on a wooden makeshift bed with her torso barely covered with a multi-coloured floral shirt. She appeared to be in a daze and shivering. The windows to her room were awkwardly covered with wood and old zinc sheets. A mattress was on the ground behind the door. It was covered in maggots, garbage, piles of faeces and urine.
One police officer who was appalled by the scene said, “This is just horrible. Even animals live better than this. It is sickening.”
Questioned as to why she locked her daughter in the room for several months, the single-parent said that her daughter due to her illness was very violent and would beat her terribly. She said she tried to contact authorities to provide help but they never came. The woman said she had no choice but to lock her daughter up in the room.
She also claimed that her room was locked and surrounding windows sealed due to constant break-ins by males who raped her and even her daughter. The police confirmed that the woman indeed made a report about an alleged rape incident but the accused was released since another incident occurred while that suspect was in custody.
The neighbours who were very emotional about the matter gave another side that contradicted the mother’s claim.
Several residents said that the woman was only trying to deceive the media with “wicked lies.”
They insisted that the woman’s wrath was unleashed on her daughter because of an African man who was her daughter’s boyfriend.
The police are currently investigating the matter.
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