– says Human Services Minister
DURING a recent visit to Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, reached out to the 98-year-old woman who was raped and beaten in her home a few days ago.
Moments after meeting the distraught elderly woman, Dr. Persaud contended that perhaps penalties for rapists in Guyana are not harsh enough.
“Maybe we need to relook at that. It might not be a popular sentiment, but I think people should not be allowed to get away with this kind of thing in this country, not against anyone, and certainly not against elderly people,” the Human Services Minister emphasised.
Dr. Persaud said that she was quite saddened to see the state in which the former educator had been living. The home in which she was raped is dilapidated and without electricity and potable water.
“It really was very difficult to see and hear…and then to look at her having the kind of spirit, that would break most people. At 98 years old, she had great will power,” Dr. Persaud noted. Since the assault, four men have been taken into police custody. Minister Persaud is hopeful that the perpetrators of the heinous crime would be dealt with condignly and face the full force of the law.
“To suffer that kind of horrific atrocity was quite something; I just want the perpetrators to be brought swiftly to justice,” she emphasised.
The minister told reporters that the incident highlighted the need for more to be done to address the safety and overall wellbeing of elderly persons across the country.
“We have decided to work with our Elderly Commission and to look at programmes where we can improve the lives of the elderly outside of the regular ones like pension,” Dr. Persaud informed.
“We now have to start thinking about how people can be safe; what we should do to ensure people who live alone, especially elders, and what precautions they should take, so we will be looking at some of those programmes and some other things to improve their quality of life,” the minister explained.
She encouraged Guyanese to pay more attention to elderly persons within their communities, and to examine how either they or the Human Services ministry can assist in improving the lives of these persons.
“Reach out; look out for them. Maybe they just don’t have anyone else to do it,” Dr. Persaud reasoned.
In the meantime, she pledged the Human Services Ministry’s commitment towards improving the assaulted woman’s living conditions. As Dr. Persaud wrapped up her visit to the nonagenarian, she presented her with a few hampers, and promised to provide even more assistance.
The News Room understands that the elderly woman lives alone and was discovered in a battered state by her caregiver on February 23, 2021. The caregiver explained that the woman said the she was beaten, choked and that the suspects pushed their hands down her throat.
The caregiver didn’t immediately suspect that the elderly woman was raped; it was only when she was dressing her to go to the hospital that she noticed her underwear was torn and there was blood.
The caregiver later found a bloodstained sheet, and subsequently contacted the police.
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud also visited the children whose mother died after she was forced to consume a poisonous by her reputed husband who placed a cutlass to her neck. The incident occurred on February 03, 2021, at Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice (WCB). Sattie Jagmohan was hospitalised but died 14 days later at the New Amsterdam Hospital. Prior to her death, she managed to tell the police what happeed.
The children are currently being cared for by their maternal grandmother and other relatives. Dr. Persaud has already engaged the family on several areas of assistance.
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will also be providing counselling services for both the children and the elderly woman.
Additionally, Dr. Persaud also returned to the Albion Community Centre where she distributed a quantity of spectacles to persons whose eyes were tested during a previous outreach earlier in the month.
The initiative was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and Revision Optical.