Tragic death of a woman – by Freddie Kissoon

Tragic death of a woman


When you read about the tragic dimensions of the lives of our fellow Guyanese in foreign lands, trust me, these things break your heart. You are deeply hurt. I once met a young lady from a respected family whose life was almost destroyed over her sexual relationship with a visa officer. She told me she thought he would have given her the visa, but in the end all he wanted was all types of sex.

She entered UG after her disaster, graduated, applied for Canadian self-sponsorship, married and is now a happy Canadian resident. Why didn’t she do that in the first place? Carpenters were holed up in Barbados, living in primitive conditions, only to be rounded up in the night under the Thompson Government and deported back to Guyana.  

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Guyanese face humiliation and loss of dignity in the Caribbean islands. These are countries that have less than ten percent of the wealth that inheres in this big territory. If you take away the bestial political and ethnic mismanagement that characterize Guyana’s history, this place is a rich land whose wealth could be harnessed to provide a comfortable future for its people.

There has to be a quick solution to our ethnic and political perversities before more tragedies as what happened in Trinidad keep proliferating. I read that a Guyanese woman hung herself in a detention centre in Trinidad. Why was she arrested and why was she not sent back to her homeland instead of languishing in a detention centre?  She wasn’t eighteen or twenty so she could have used her robust youthfulness to endure her imprisonment. She was forty-eight and maybe was completely depressed.

Not much has been published about this woman. We don’t know if she has children. But surely, it was an unnecessary death. Please forgive the words that are about to flow if you think they are encapsulated in an attitude of arrogance, but what was she doing on an island of 1,980 square miles while her country is so large and so rich? Couldn’t she have shaped a living for herself and family in Guyana?

When I read about this death I was overcome by the contradiction of sadness and rage. Why do our people have to be treated like this in the Caribbean? Why are we running like mad to and want to stay in Barbados, an island that is a mere 166 square miles?

This suicide has really pained me, because our people have no right to be locked up in a detention centre in Trinidad when the flight takes an hour to get to Timehri airport

Do we know how she was treated in the prison? Was she assaulted by other inmates? Was she bullied? Did the prison authorities just turn a blind eye to her condition? Knowing where she came from, they probably couldn’t have cared one bit. She was Guyanese. Do you think her death will be investigated by the Guyanese authorities? Do you think there would be any communication from the Guyana Government?

Times like these I remember the story of Amanda Knox, an ordinary American university student with no connection to wealth and fame in the US. She was on an exchange programme in Italy, where in a night of sex and drugs, she was accused of the violent stabbing to death of her British friend in the university hostel. She was convicted and jailed.

Amanda Knox became an international celebrity overnight. The power of American society came down on her side. All the major television networks and newspapers and powerful politicians publicized her case, insinuating that Italian justice was flawed. The evidence pointed to Knox’s guilt, but the American nation said that Italy cannot jail an American citizen. This was no rich girl, no heiress, no pop star, no woman of status, just an ordinary girl, as ordinary as they come. But for America, she was from the US and therefore she must be protected.

The unfortunate death of the Guyanese woman in Trinidad is going to pass as just another statistic in this country. No one from the Government is going to ask the Trinidadian authorities for an explanation. Perhaps they will not get an answer if they do. Regional authorities are so contemptuous of Guyana in the past forty years that complaints to regional governments are tossed in the bin.

What an irony of life. In an integration movement where one country is larger than the entire grouping and whose wealth exceeds every other unit in the family of nations, the citizens of that land are the pariahs in the family.

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  • Deen  On August 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Freddie, I totally agree with you I think the Guyana government have failed in protecting the interests of its citizens, both at home and abroad. The incidence abuse toward Guyanese in Trinidad and Barbados has been much publicized, and the Guyana government has been weak in representing and defending its citizens. Guyanese are left to fend for themselves and this “eye pass” is going to continue. The only deterrents are the Guyanese media, citizens organizations and individuals like you, Freddie, wh keep fighting for justice where injustice exists.
    One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

  • Thinker  On August 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I expected some statement on the affair from the Guyana Consul-General in Trinidad. A phone call from one of the Guyana newspapers could have gotten that perhaps, even if no news was coming from Foreign Affairs..

  • Cyril James  On August 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Our government keep failing us on every front, I think the only time they get involved is if it’s a family member. It’s so sad indeed that we have to suffer in the Caribbean and by the same people whom Forbs Burnham at one time allowed to make Guyana their home and given land to do farming. I am living in the US and is pursuing a degree in Social Work to one day return home and help my people. We as Guyanese need to set up networks where ever we live to look out for each other, we need to start practicing being our brothers keeper.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On August 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    A tragedy indeed.

  • Restorer  On August 16, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Mental health services are sadly lacking in our neck of the woods. Something must be done and fast.

  • Frank Ferreira  On August 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Very interesting indeed; Respect for Guyanese and our country seem to be sadly lacking internationally also. Why I wonder?.

  • terrytrekker  On August 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Lets face facts. There is no unity within Guyana, so it is pointless to expect some national furor over maltreatment of Guyanese abroad. The problem with Trinidad and Barbados is not new and I doubt Government intervention would help. The first step in protecting Guyanese abroad is to promote Guyanese national unity at home. When Guyanese constantly attack and ridicule each other, what do you expect outsiders to do?

  • Kman  On August 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    The GOG do not investigate when things in Guyana, why do you think they would investigate this incident. Come on Freddie be realistic.

  • Diane  On August 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    You are right on Deen. If the Gov’t of Guyana afford its people no protection, security or concern within Guyana, is there any reason to believe, they, the Gov’t of Guyana will protect us outside of Guyana.
    Our basic needs for a decent standard of living (food on the table, a roof over our heads, education for our children), over the years has forced us, the people of Guyana to leave our country in droves. It has taken us to the four corners of the world. With the help and sometimes abuse and discrimination at the hands of foreigners we have eductated ourselves, carved out a living for ourselves, while at the same time financially supporting our many family and friends left behind in Guyana. Without which they would be living in dire poverty. Stop the flow of foreign dollars going to family and loved ones into Guyana and observe what happens. Maybe, then the blinders will drop from the eyes of the Gov’t.
    I am proud the Gov’t is pushing education in Guyana, however, what are they doing to create jobs for these kids when they graduate. Here again our educated people will look to the outside world to ply their skills. “Educate and export”

  • Deen  On August 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Diane, I share your sentiments. Those of us who have pride ourselves as Guyanese cannot and must not allow others to condescendingly treat us with contempt and disdain. Perhaps some Guyanese do misbehave abroad, but they are not a reflection of all good Guyanese, who deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. Yes, the majority of us who have left Guyana and have been fortunate to achieve a better life abroad are aware of the needs of Guyanese at home. Guyanese are hospitable and charitable people. I agree without the disbursements that Guyana receive especially from relatives in the US, Canada and England the economy in Guyana and the poverty level will be desperate.
    It’s sad and very disturbing to see how the standard of living and poverty have worsened over the years since Guyana achieved its independence. Divisive politics and poor leadership have been detrimental to the progress of the country….. and the people continue to suffer with the decaying garbage, the drugs and the decadence. And now with the disrespect from it neighbors, Trinidad and Barbados.
    I pray that hope will spring eternal to give the majority of Guyanese a better life at home and the children may have a better future……. and Guyana may one day be truly “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

    • Diane  On August 26, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Deen, glad we are on the same page. Yes a few bad Guyanes is not a reflection of all Guyanese. Tell me, what nation does not have those that misbehave. However, their country do not disown them.
      Was our ambassador/spokesman/representative in Trinidad contacted regarding this lady’s situation? Is there any investigation by the Guyana Gov’t? Were her family aware of what was happening with her? Would very much like to know.

      I must say, you are spot on regarding politics along racial lines being at the heart of one of the many problems facing Guyanese . Don’t know if you have ever been in Guyana during an election year, I have, and to stand there and listen to the blatant racism in political speeches is shameful, both on the part of the Gov’t and the people. When will it dawn on us Guyanese that we are mere pawns in the Goverment’s political games. When will we the Guyanese people stand up and tell our Gov’t the color of a man’s skin must not stand in the way of his inalienable rights to have a dignified life. Yes, there were some terrible things that happened in the past, we need to put it to rest and move on. What the political campaigns were doing were pitting the races against each other. Fear momgering. Have we not learned anything from the outside world, what’s done to one will in time affect all of us.

      It’s great that the media brings these stories to us, and we, the people voice our opinions, but is the Gov’t taking heed of any of this. Do they openly address any of this. Or do they feel they have no obligation to the people…. until it comes to election time again.

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