Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Children poisoned by father six years ago "move on" after murder of mother (Plegtanker, Guyana)

I'm not sure you truly "move on" after your father KHEMRAJ MOHAN murders your mother and you and your 3 siblings survive Daddy's attempt to poison you. But these kids are trying.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Poisoned Plegtanker children put ordeal behind them
By Stabroek staff July 27, 2010 in Local News

Four children of Plegtanker, East Bank Berbice who survived after being poisoned by their father six years ago, have moved on and put the ordeal behind them.

On that fateful night, their father Khemraj Mohan murdered their mother, Sabrina Fredricks and after feeding them Ovaltine laced with poison, he took his own life.

Kumeshwar ‘Mike’ Mohan, 18, who was 12 years old at the time and his siblings; Mohanie, Savita, and Amit who are now 16, 11 and ten years old have vague recollections of what transpired on that fateful night.

Another sibling, Sharda, was spending the night at an aunt’s house at the time of the incident and was spared the nightmare. They are still in the care of their paternal grandmother, Rajmonie Tomby, 68.

The incident followed quarrels Mohan had with his wife over the long periods she was away from home, leaving him to take care of the children while tending to his farm.

Fredricks had claimed that she was sick and had to seek treatment in Suriname and Georgetown but Mohan never knew for sure if that was the case, according to Rajmonie, who lived a few doors away.

She is still haunted by what happened to her son and daughter-in-law and the fact that she almost lost her four grandchildren.

The woman told Stabroek News that it was hard for her to put the memories of that horrible tragedy behind. “Ah does remember all the time; when I see dese pickney ah must remember…”
She does not go to the small shack where her son lived with his family and where the incident took place though because “me does just imagine he in front of me…”

Rajmonie who took the children in her care just after they were discharged from hospital had vowed since then never to separate them even if she could only afford to provide them with just “salt and rice”.

In tears she told this newspaper, “me mind them from small and me tek oath that me would look after them how long me live.”

According to her, bringing up the children was a struggle “but whatever ah get me does give dem; dem very contented. I always make sure that at mealtime dem must get something to eat; me don’t left dem mouth dry…”

The woman said the children are quiet and mannerly and that they attend the mandir with her every Sunday.

Old age pension

She depends on her old age pension to provide for her grandchildren and also receives public assistance for the two smaller children – Savita and Amit who attends the Plegtanker Primary School.

Savita recently wrote the National Grade Six Assessment examination and has secured a place at the Berbice Educational Institute in New Amsterdam.

She would be the first of her siblings to attend a school out of the area and Rajmonie said she would try her best to get the $1,200 per week for transportation to send her.

She also plans to prepare lunch for the child daily and would give her a little “pocket-piece” when she can afford it.

The woman was looking forward to uplifting the $1,500 voucher that the government was issuing for each child to purchase some of their school gear.

Savita would have to travel a distance of ten miles to get to school.

But that journey would take her some three hours because of the deplorable condition of the road.

The three older siblings also attended the Plegtanker Primary, which has a secondary department up to fourth form and Kumeshwar completed up to that level, while Mohanie attended up to third form and Sharda dropped out in form two.

Kumeshwar said he was doing well at school and wished he had the opportunity to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination. His dream is to see Savita and Amit complete high school.

The two older girls would have loved to be involved in skill enhancement but said it is not available in their area.

They are assisting their grandmother at home with the cooking and cleaning while Kumeshwar went a few times with residents in the backdam to hunt.

He earned a little money from that and saved some of it to invest in cash crop farming on a small plot of land in March.

He was “caring” his garden and was eagerly looking forward to reaping his produce for the first time. Sadly, two months later the garden was flooded after a heavy rainfall and he lost his crop and now has to “start all over again.”

He told this newspaper that he was very grateful for what his grandmother, whom he and his siblings fondly refer to as “mama,” has done for them and wants to start earning so he can help to make life easy for her.

The children said that life in the “bush” is dull and that they were no longer enjoying the little entertainment they were getting from a small “black and white” television because it had stopped working.

They long for another television so they can follow the news and other interesting programmes and even a DVD player but their grandmother cannot afford it.

The area does not have electricity but Rajmonie said she would get power from a used car battery that she has to recharge often.

The woman said she and the children live in a big house, but it is very old and run down and badly needs repairing.

Sad news

She said she was at home when she got the sad news six years ago that her son had committed suicide and she started wailing. It was only when she got to the scene that she learnt that he had also murdered his wife and screamed even more.

As if that were not enough, she found out after the bodies were taken away by the police that her grandchildren had been poisoned.

She recalled that after the police left she had taken the children over to her house. A relative then decided to search the house and discovered the four cups with traces of greenish substance and realized that the children had been poisoned.

“When me hear that was gramoxone they drink, me sit flat on the floor and holler like me mad. Me thought me woulda lose all a dem. Look how much coffin me woulda had to find,” she said.

She composed herself after being consoled and told that “two dead already and me have to stand up strong fuh me grandchildren.”

She was also worried about finding a vehicle to take them to the hospital. Luckily, the owner of a jeep who was supposed to have transported his produce to the New Amsterdam market did not go that day and he rushed with the children.

Rajmonie said they spent about one week in hospital but she became so sick after the ordeal that she was unable to visit them. An aunt was there with them during that time.

The woman lamented that she never expected that her son would have done something like that because he was always a quiet person.

She also recalled that he worked hard on his farm; never talked about his problems and hardly consumed alcohol.

Kumeshwar had told this newspaper that his parents had started quarrelling shortly after his mother returned home from New Amsterdam that afternoon and said she had to leave again the next morning.

He and his siblings went to bed and left them quarrelling. They were asleep when their father woke them up and ordered them to drink the Ovaltine but they did not know that he had mixed it with poison.

He had said too that his father also told him that he had killed their mother and would hang himself and gave the boy a ring to give it to his (Khemraj’s) sister. He then told them to go back to sleep.

The next morning the children woke up with their stomachs burning and started to vomit.

Kumeshwar first discovered the lifeless bodies of his parents under the house.

His father, dressed only in his underwear, was hanging from a rope while the remains of his mother bore what appeared to be stab wounds.

He immediately ran over to his aunt’s house to give her the ring and the news that his parents were dead.

When this newspaper met the children about one year after the incident they appeared to be still hunted by the ordeal.

At that time Kumeshwar provided information about what happened but this time he said, “me don’t worry about that anymore; me done forget about that.”