I grew up hearing the saying that blood is thicker than water. This is indeed so in reality, and early in my life I often wondered why people said this, until I realized that people were talking about relations. I heard my mother also say that teeth and tongue does bite, but when it is all over they still live together.
I travelled to the Corentyne on Friday to meet with a woman whom I met some years ago after I attempted to review a book she wrote. This is a simple woman who spoke about the rough life she had growing up and the strides she made later in life.
This was a woman whom Joyce Hoyte and her husband, the late Desmond Hoyte, helped escape a very abusive relationship. But while this woman managed to escape with her children, she was forced to leave other members of her close family behind.
Two of them have since died, but a third, her older brother is having such a torrid tome that this woman had to fly in from Florida where she now resides to rescue her brother who, as fate would have it, is deaf and blind. He is 78-year-old David Alexander.
With her children, this woman, Wynette Alexander, who wrote a book, Before I forget, burst into tears when I turned up at her home on Friday. She had set up home at 5 Lancaster, Corentyne.
She never wiped the Guyana dust from her feet, so she built a home on a plot of land that her grandfather had secured. This plot of land has five house lots, all allocated to relatives. As Wynette told it, her grandfather happened on this plot of land and having built his home, invited other relatives–his brothers and an uncle—to join him.
He was a man who recognized that relatives was all he had, and he wanted everyone to be together. Today, years after he has gone to the great beyond, his kind deed has turned out to be a nightmare for a great-grandson.
Wynette with the support of her three children, built a comfortable home on the plot of land her father secured. She included an apartment for her handicapped brother. Because of his blindness and the fact that he was forced to live alone, she erected some posts along the path leading to the house. To them, she attached a length of wire that would serve as a guide rope for her brother to go to the front of the yard.
What caused her to come home was the fact that a relative who lives at the front of the yard cut the posts and the wire, contending that they were on her plot of land. Blind David could no longer walk to the front of the yard where Wynette had constructed a seat for him to enjoy the late afternoon.
This relative once lived in the bottom flat of her home, but a major disagreement caused an eviction and the move to the house at the front of the yard. Things became acrimonious and continue to be to this day.
A pipeline leading to Wynette’s home so that David could access water was ripped up and burnt. Blind David was in a quandary. On three occasions Guyana Water Inc. made the reconnection, and on each occasion the lines were ripped up and burnt. The relative claimed that the line was passing through her land, although she has no evidence of ownership. And in any case, the water was serving a relative whose ancestor wanted everyone to be together or in close proximity.
The police were summoned; they warned the errant relative, but nothing seemed to get better. So Wynette hired a surveyor, caused the properties to be surveyed and erected a fence separating the relative from the rest of the property.
The fence also served to contain the pit bulls that the relative’s sons reared and which they loosed whenever they wanted to prevent anyone from executing a programme to help David. GWI could no longer install yet another pipeline until the police intervened once more.
Bad does not always attract evil. Wynette had built a large concrete bridge to accommodate all who lived in the yard. When she erected the fence she wanted to demolish the section of the bridge that was of no use to her. The very tormentor begged that the bridge not be demolished and so it remained.
Wynette should have left for Florida last week; she deferred her departure to ensure that her blind brother was comfortable.
She told me some horror stories. She spoke of the tormentor taking the money. On one occasion, someone gave him two one-thousand dollar notes. One of the tormentor’s children took away the money and replaced them with two twenty-dollar notes.
On another occasion they took a pair of boots that she had bought for her brother. When she saw it on the feet of one of the sons of the relative, the young man casually asked, “What David want with these boots?”
Another time they beat him within an inch of his life because he refused to part with some money he had. The police got nowhere because David was scared to identify his attacker who wanted the money to buy alcohol.
Other reports got nowhere, because this relative is a member of the Neighbourhood Police. But the supervisors would have none of the bullying. Wynette praised Lyndon Alves, who is now at the Criminal Investigations Department in the city, for actually helping to protect her brother.
But it has not always been easy. On one occasion, she said that a police rank at Whim actually told her that the police could do nothing, because nothing criminal had occurred.
If there was no criminal act against David, then one must wonder what is.
Wynette left yesterday with one request. She asked me to speak for David. I am doing so now. He lives alone in the apartment. Another relative is providing him with his meals. Up until yesterday the fence was keeping out the predators.
But now that she has left, would the situation remain calm? I hope so. And I will be checking on David.
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