Lusignan massacre one month on…
(By Mondale Smith and Dale
Today marks one month since 11 persons
were slain at Lusignan, East Coast Demarara, and the
emotions among survivors and relatives are mixed.
Most are in a
constant struggle to put their lives back together, and have
expressed that, if given the opportunity to leave the country, even
if only for a holiday, they would readily take it.
the majority spells nightmares, but one thing is certain: the
tragedy has brought the community closer.
“We got a warning system in place. If we
see any strange person in the village we does call one another,” an
elderly villager said while a group of young men engaged in
conversation related that things are not the same in the village, as
most of the villagers are fearful and feel much safer in
Fears still abound
“If I can get a
house lot out of this area I would move out, or if I get a chance to
come out of Guyana I would be more comfortable,” said Vishnu
Kishore, who lost his mother, father and foster sister in the
Now the caretaker of Lot 20 Lusignan Pasture, the house
in which his parents and foster sister were slain, life for Kishore
has forever changed, and when night falls he becomes fearful and
leaves the house unattended.
“Even in the day I does sit down and
remember them, and like I does can’t be alone anymore,” he
He was the first of his siblings to see the shot-up remains
of his family in the house after the shooting, and he added, “Like I
does still see them, and like I can’t stay here at all. I does try
to forget, but the memory can’t die away so.”
One of his brothers
has left the country, but his sister has remained. His family
received $300,000 from Government during the funeral period. But
while he is grateful for all other assistance received from the
various sections of the society, he expressed concern that there is
no physical move to construct a police outpost aback of the
Killed at that house on January 26 were Rooplall and
Dhanrajie Seecharan, as well as their foster daughter,
Mother & daughter want to leave
One month after losing her husband, Bibi Baksh and her daughter
remain surrounded by relatives, but life to them is a recurring
“To me, like it worse now,” she told this publication
jumping out of her sleep screaming, she dreads the day when her
relatives will leave her home.
Widow, Bibi Zulaika Baksh (in hammock) with her
two children - Shazeed (left) and Shakir
On Sunday, a final religious function is to be held for her
husband, Shalim Baksh, then her family will leave.
so bad me just want move from here. Me nah want stay no more, me
want go-way,” she told Kaieteur News yesterday.
Her mother added
that, “She does still wake up hollering ‘shootin!’ Shootin!’
Baksh says she will feel safe only when the gunmen are caught
After living in the village for 23 years, she
said, “Me glad if de Government can move me out ah this area, cause
this here is just like me believe that them can come and kill me and
Her daughter, who was smiling at intervals,
is happy to be back at school and said that she is getting back into
the hang of things. However, she is tired of the many questions that
constantly take her back to the gruelling images of her father’s
shot-up body on the bedroom floor.
She says that she has received
some counselling, but she remains fearful and expressed the wish
“that they (students) would stop asking me about it.”
coming back together, but not like before”
The late Shazam Mohammed, aged 22, is still fondly referred
to as the ‘Golden God’ of the Mohammed family. When Kaieteur News
visited the home, his mother, Bibi Rakiun Khan, and father, Nadir,
sat on the verandah of their Lot 26 home in a reflective mood.
One month after he was shot in both legs, the father -- a
farmer -- is no longer wearing a cast but his legs remain bandaged,
and like the rest of the family, he wore a smile.
“I don’t know
that I can go back to farming now, but I’m trying to walk on the
legs,” the man, who has not earned since being shot, said.
He told this newspaper that his fears remain, but at times he
still believes “it is all a bad dream” from which he longs to
One month on, he said sympathetic visitors still
come a-calling, but he noted that his family tries as much as
possible not to talk about the loss of their son.
“We are trying
to look forward because we don’t want to bring back the bad
memories, because life got to go
“I love Shazam very
much, but life must go on. We picking up the pieces, but it not like
before,” Khan said.
Shazam's mother is grateful for all the
support received to date, but she says that she is afraid for her
“I hear that they gon grade down the bush at the back,
but them ain’t do that yet.”
The matriarch said, too, that she
does not have any nightmares, but she noted that every waking moment
brings back memories of the dreadful day. She says that she would
like to see more police patrols in the area at nights, and all the
While this newspaper was in the
village yesterday, a police armoured vehicle was visibly patrolling
Bibi Rakiun Khan and husband,
Nadir, in the company of their
“God is in charge”
After losing her main
breadwinner and two of her children, while praying and hoping for
the best for her three remaining children, Gaumattie Thomas, mindful
of the loss, is a smiling mother and a tower of strength.
RELATIVES and friends of the Thomas
family walk with the coffins to the final place of
“So far, I’m coping with the loss of my two children and my
husband, and even though I still have memories, life
continues. I’m not afraid of continuing to live in my house, I’m
just fearful of the gunmen.”
Her baby, Roberto, remains
hospitalised, while his older brother, Harold, has been
But both have expressed reservations about returning
to the Lot 30 Lusignan Pasture house where they were shot and lost
their father, brother and sister.
The mother said, “Harold is
out, but none of them want to stay here anymore.”
She said that
19-year-old Harold, who was shot in his arm, visited the home two
days ago and immediately began trembling.
He now resides with
relatives away from the village.
The mother said that, if she
could have afforded it, she would have taken her family out of the
country; but given her financial status, she would be comfortable if
she gets assistance to construct her fence and to do further
renovations on her home.
She says that she has some fears but is
comfortable sleeping upstairs where her family was killed and
She gets some support from her church, and is grateful
for the ration she receives from time to time.
“God is in
charge,” she said.
Her gratitude goes out to all who were there
for the family, offering prayers and other assistance. She has since
replaced the windows and secured the doors of the
Her son Mark has abandoned his diving job in Bartica
and is now the ‘man of the house’. He visits the hospital three
times daily, and sleeps over as is necessary to ensure that his baby
brother feels safe.
In addition, he also has to be the shoulder
when his mother gets sad.
Unemployed, he says he does not have a
means of earning to support his mother and injured brothers, but he
expressed the fact that he is willing to work if a job becomes
He is in the 'valley of decision' considering
what to do to make things work for his family now that his father is
“It’s not about me anymore. My life is basically for my mom
and my two brothers. I don’t have time for me anymore,” he
Happy to be alive, he said he sometimes would lie on
his bed and think of what he would have done had he been at home
when the gunmen visited his home.
“Imagine, my two brothers don’t
want to come back here for nothing. I wish I could take my family
away from here,” he said.
Another victim of the tragedy, Rakumar Harrilall, who lost
his wife, Mohandai, and two children -- Seegobind and Seegopaul, was
not at home when this newspaper arrived.
Villagers said that
Harilall, who was in Trinidad when the incident occurred, would
hardly remain in his house for long periods.
February 26, 2008