By Staff Writer
History has never been kind to oppressors. Despite their diabolical tactics, those who seek to subjugate others will ultimately suffer deafening defeat. Call it “Karma” or “Kismet”, the Universe has a way of restoring equilibrium. A case in point is a series of recent events at a West Bank Demerara community, where an abusive husband, who took extreme measures to keep his wife under his heel, fell prey to his own devious schemes. But before delving into the details of this remarkable turn of events, it is crucial to understand the background that led to this climatic moment.
The two met about eight years ago while she was married. He was her son’s friend. They eloped and three years later, welcomed a child. However, the weight of societal judgments began to burden her conscience. Villagers repeatedly taunted her for leaving her husband and four children for a man who was 19 years her junior. Despite this condemnation, she stood by her decision.
As time passed, her new husband became verbally abusive. He drank, gambled excessively and became emotionally unstable. The wife reached out to the Guyana Standard several times and was assisted in finding help. Unfortunately, whenever she was summoned to the police station, she would either refrain from attending or refuse to provide a statement.
Guyana Standard later learnt that the man would threaten to take her child away and harm her relatives if she continued to push for his arrest.
It was during this period that the woman’s two sons and daughter who had now become adults, but still reeling from the pain of their parent’s separation, stepped up to support their mother and their half-sibling. Through years of bitterness and shame, they gradually reconciled.
Meanwhile, the emotional abuse continued as her husband would alienate her from her family and friends. She was not allowed to leave the home without his permission nor could she speak to anyone without his say-so. He ultimately became physically abusive. Whenever he crossed paths with his stepsons, he would goad them into physical confrontations. This continued unabated, leading to many heated arguments and near-violent altercations over the years.
Last Mother’s Day, her abusive relationship reached a tipping point when he ejected them and other relatives from the yard. She was later told to meet her relatives and children on the road whenever they visited. Three days later, a brawl between man and wife ensued. Her relatives and sons later visited the home to check on her well-being, but they were once again, unceremoniously ousted from the yard by the cutlass-wielding husband.
He later visited a West Demerara police station and reported that he was assaulted and fearful for his life. He later issued notices to the woman’s two sons and at least two other relatives, of his intention to secure restraining orders against them.
But prior to their appearance before the court, one of the woman’s sons told this publication that his stepfather is seeking the orders so that he could continue his reign of terror uninterrupted.
“When he beat she, we doz go and rescue her. Sometimes we even take her out of the house but he doz always hold on to the child and mommy always tek him back. If he get this restraining order, how we go save she? And he is very abusive,” one of the woman’s sons told this publication on May 26.
They were all subsequently summoned to a West Demerara court; however, the man provided the incorrect names of his wife’s relatives, against whom he was seeking the orders. When the Court Marshall delivered the notices, he was informed that the names on the document were not theirs. In fact, they bore no resemblance to their legal names. The Marshall, nevertheless, insisted that they present themselves to court. They went to court the following day but did not hear their legal names called. When they attempted to explain to a court official, they were ushered away and told to return on May 29.
Upset he could not secure the orders, the husband allegedly returned home and began terrorising the woman. On Independence Day, he reportedly slapped her, temporarily cutting off hearing in her left ear.
POLICE REACTION, PUSSYFOOTING AT THE HOSPITAL AND THE 914 EXPERIENCE
Rescued by the same persons against whom her husband is seeking restraining orders, the injured woman was again taken to the police station. Upon her arrival, she was greeted by her husband at the gate. He was in the presence of several junior ranks. The woman’s daughter informed the cops about the reason for their visit, and the men in uniform – according to the daughter – scoffed at their claim.
According to the daughter, the cops initially refused to take her mother’s statement but instead inquired if the visit to the station was of a sexual nature.
“Dem ask she if she come hay to f@*#. So I call the man at the other station and he tell me to ker she back to the station and he will call and tell dem to take the statement,” the daughter said.
After the statement was taken, the injured woman was told to obtain a medical report from the hospital. There, she waited for more than four hours before the document was prepared and given to the cops. But even that too was a frustrating process.
“We sit down there whole afternoon till place get dark and mi tell the girl that we want the medical fast because the police want it. Mi tell she that we want it so the police can lock up my stepfather and she turn and tell mi that if me hurry I must beat out,” the daughter said.
Meanwhile, a concerned neighbour contacted the Domestic Violence Hotline and a report was made. Guyana Standard understands the caller was informed that the “Welfare” or “Probation” Department would make contact for directions for a follow-up visit, however, as of May 30 – four days after the call was made – no such department or any Human Services agency has called or visited.
“LIKE WAN SPIRIT”
Later that night, the husband was arrested. The woman, assisted by her daughter, returned home to begin packing her belongings. However, before she could complete gathering her things, her husband walked in professing his “runnings hard”.
“Mi turn around and see de man staan up by the door like wan spirit, and me ask (name withheld) if she see he or if me alone ah see he. He tell me how he want see how much links mi son dem got; how he runnings hard,” the distraught woman told this publication.
In an ominous turn of events, police ranks reportedly arrived with him and assisted him in dispatching his wife from the house.
That same night, the woman’s daughter subsequently shared two voice notes detailing what transpired at the police station; expressing her frustration with the man’s release. Guyana Standard shared those messages in the police/media Whatsapp group, and less than 15 minutes later, the Region Three Commander, Mahendra Siwnarine, reached out and requested the victim’s contact information.
He committed to dealing with the matter “personally”. Guyana Standard understands that the Commander instructed that the woman’s statement be retaken and all efforts be exhausted in allowing justice to be served. The husband, however, retreated and remained unreachable for the remainder of the night.
He, however, surprisingly resurfaced on May 29 at court for his application for restraining orders to be heard. After his appearance, swift action by Commander Siwnarine and other ranks in the division saw him being arrested and escorted to the police station. He was charged under the Domestic Violence Act the next day.
He pleaded not guilty and was placed on bail. While the exact amount is unclear at this time, Guyana Standard understands that it is “significant”.
While exiting the courtroom, he was approached by a senior police officer and was cautioned that any further abusive action taken against his wife would result in him being taken into custody until the matter is recalled.
In the presence of family members, the man begged his wife to discontinue the charge against him. The woman, still partially deaf, or perhaps with a newfound sense of hope, replied “Me nah hear one thing wha you ah seh”.
While the matter has not been brought to finality, the woman said that she is satisfied with the way things are progressing. However, she expressed concern that the accused had been granted bail. Nevertheless, she has received assurances from neighbours, police officers, neighbourhood watch and her relatives, that she would be safe at her new place of residence.
“Dem vigilante (neighbourhood watch) doz call me and check up and make sure me alright. Sometime dem doz pass and stop and call to mek sure me come out and answer. Mi just glad he (husband) know he can’t knock me no mo and now is a different time,” the woman said while hugging her elated daughter outside the courtroom.