(Vidyaratha Kissoon lives in Guyana. This is an edited version of a blog posted on https://churchroadman.blogspot.com/)
Bus driver wearing mask on chin. I’m next to him on the jump seat with a cloth on my face. A woman beside me with a mask on. Covid-19 regulations were relaxed. I had opened a conversation by saying that I forgot my morals by not saying morning. The woman said ‘fine’.
Noon news on the radio. A story of the baby who died from Covid-19 at West Demerara Regional Hospital in late November 2020. The Chief Medical Officer had confirmed that the baby could have contracted Covid in hospital
I mutter something for nothing that a gun does not. Baby dead in Guyana’s public hospital system. Woman quietly. Mask on. Look out the window. Probably wishing I had shut my mouth too to keep in the Covid.
Bus driver says .. ‘well leh let’s see what dey’s gun does about dat’.
Nothing has happened that we know of. Babies and other people may still contract Covid in the hospitals.
This story coincides with the story of a little girl, who was found floating in a ditch in Crane. West Coast Demerara. Left hand missing. No name. No one has reported her missing since her discovery on December 5, 2020.
No organizations or activism or statements from anyone including me to get the forensic experts to find out who killed and put the lost left hand baby in this trench. Guyana full of oil. The dead baby. No name. No owner so no one to call for justice or interview or more.
Two babies dead at start of Christmas 2020.
Two boys die from gunshot wounds of guns at home.
Isaiah Henry, Joel Henry, Haresh Singh. People killed them. People who might have voted in democracy. People not found. People who have friends and family and need to know what happened.
How many people killed and hurt children in 2020 voted? Would it have made a difference if the people they voted for asked them not to kill or hurt the children? One politician called out after citizens and potential voters killed Haresh Singh, “We’re not people who kill our children,” … but well ..
A man killing the woman he was living with, and a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old girl. Burn them in the house. Another man who burnt a child to death is appealing his conviction. He feels that he does not deserve such a sentence.
Another man who killed his 10-year-old, six-year-old and four-year-old believes his life sentence is too severe. Not sure if he thinks he deserves punishment.
‘We are not killers …’
Another man kills an 11-year-old girl and her mother. Three other men have killed teenage girls they were supposed to love. One man tried to kill a child he had dragged on before killing himself.
‘We are not the killers of children’…
A man telling me about a man who knows who thinks of a schoolgirl and her parents and so on. ‘They consent’ he said.
An eight-year-old boy was found hanging in Linden, and a 13-year-old girl was found hanging in Timehri in December 2020. Two children hanging in one month. The boy’s mother thinks it is murder.
Other children have attempted suicide.
I remember a child scratching the name of her political party on the desk at school, and writing about the other political party just before the 2020 Elections and Covid-19.
I had asked a class of children if they had people they could talk to about problems. Many could not give an answer.
Classrooms have pictures of the leaders. The children could talk about the politics.
Not sure how many children know where to go or who to call if they are considering suicide.
Thinking about the guns in the house. Two boys dead who had access to guns in the house. Think about the lack of talk about guns in the houses and guns all over. And in the oil-poor democracy Trinidad & Tobago, a story in June 2020 about a citizen shooting a two-year-old girl who was with her father.
A boy is drowning in a trench while playing. Lots of stories of kids drowning in trenches and backyard ponds and water ways while playing. A journalist had asked me a few years ago when he realized he had told two stories one after the other, whether there was something to write about.
Not easy to stop. Kids will run out, play, tired parents can try their best … and the kids will ‘escape.’ It’s almost natural and tragic.
Another boy is drowning while setting up his fishing net. He had to work for his living. Not playing. Other children working for their lives may be at risk. We wouldn’t know until they were hurting. Or die.
The baby floating in Crane’s trench with her left hand broken off and no one, including me, calling for justice – she just couldn’t escape and drown.
A mother in Berbice beats the 6-year-old, thinks she killed the child and throws the child in the swamp. ‘You beat fuh discipline, you don’t beat fuh kill dem,’ states the citizens who vote in democracy and want teachers to keep beating children and so forth.
Many adults say they are beaten with worse and so on and they turn out good citizens who love the parents and vote and stand in elections and pray and so forth.
And so citizens who vote (or don’t vote) have to decide to block their ears when they hear screams and abuse of parents and hope they are never asked when ‘enough is enough’.
I asked a journalist for a follow-up story about child protection services in Berbice.
What people might call when they think the beating is too much.
There was no story. Maybe there are no real services as such or they don’t want people to call because then it will overwhelm the phone lines and once the kids are out of bed or not going to hospital then it’s fine.
A man from the area with the Mother and neighbors who used to cuss, said that was a common thing.
Imagine if each political party leaflet had something like the phone number to call to report when you thought someone might be killing their child. Or want to kill children. The children are bedridden in all constituencies of the political party.
I didn’t vote but felt the anxiety and tensions and so when counting votes, the dead children could easily be forgotten and ignored.
Not much anxiety and tensions and therefore, really no protests about counting dead children. When dealing with counting of vows, it is easy to forget to count dead children who, God and beyond, did not really have to die.
We may have lost a few dead children who didn’t have to die in 2020. Like the little girl with the missing left hand floating in the canal at Crane.
God etc aside.
The bus driver had said .. ‘well leh let’s see what dey’s gun does about dat’.
I should have said “Not ‘What dey ..’
but “what does WE gun do about dat ..”
But I had reached my stop, the generally quiet woman opened up and I got off the bus.
The Child Care and Protection Agency in Guyana has helpline 24 227-0979
Individuals in Guyana who are thinking of Suicide can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 6007896 or 6234444, 2230818