By Bibi Khatoon
Brenda Ferreira is accused of viciously killing her 3-year-old son on Saturday and she is expected to face the full brunt of the law.
She was arrested immediately after Ramdeo Ferreira was found in a pool of blood on the bed at their Lot 585 15th Street, Foulis, East Coast Demerara (ECD) home.
The toddler was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he died while receiving medical attention.
A Post Mortem Examination on Monday found that he died from a stab wound to the heart.
During a visit to the community on Monday, family members described the 26-year-old mother as an alcoholic, but it was not always this way.
Brenda reportedly left her Pomeroon home at the age of 13 and began working at a bar within the predominantly Indian community. She later met her husband who was also a teenager at the time.
His uncle told News Room that at that time, he contacted Brenda’s father and took her back to her family. However, his nephew went all the way to Essequibo and brought her back.
Unable to recall how long Brenda lived with the teen, the family related that five years ago, Brenda moved in with her then father-in-law, Shamlall Mahadeo, for whom she ended up bearing two sons.
Shamlall had separated from his legally married wife “long before,” his mother, Toolseedai Hussain told the media.
Shamlall and Brenda shared a small house a short distance away from the rest of the family.
“The first she was alright. The first time when them tek each other [began living home], they were alright,” Hussain said.
The house was in a state of disarray on Monday; it is divided into two with one half serving as a kitchen and the other half as a bedroom. The bed was still covered in blood from the weekend’s ordeal as Shamlall and his four-year-old son are now staying with relatives.
Clothes were strewn about the yard, supposedly from the last laundry.
As she fought to hold back tears for her grandson who will be laid to rest on Wednesday, Hussain reported that Brenda developed a “drinking habit.”
“She started following the alcohol. When he [Shamlall] go work and come back, the children don’t have food,” the grandmother said.
The elderly woman said she tried several times to counsel her daughter-in-law but her efforts proved futile.
Ferreira allegedly stabbed the toddler in the presence of her four-year-old son and told officers that she had a dream that she was going to die and wanted to take her favourite child with her.
Neighbours told the media that the woman constantly abused the children.
The matter was even reported to the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) in February of this year but the officers allegedly visited the home once and never returned.
In a public statement on Sunday afternoon, the CCPA noted that “information is not available at the moment on the case –whether or not a report was ever received and the response.”
The agency said its Intake Manager and the District Supervisor are examining the call records and is expected to produce a report on the matter.
But the Rights of the Child Commission believes that more could have been done.
At a press conference on Monday morning, the Commission’s Investigating Officer, Andre Gonsalves acknowledged that the RCC needs to do more to educate communities as he noted that “we find that the community is failing the family and I think again, this new case offers another dimension to the Commission’s position on that.”
The RCC disclosed that the matter was never brought to their attention but condemned the incident.
“Eventually, the community will understand the important role it plays in supporting the family, it just doesn’t end in a home and that’s a concept that Guyanese will soon fully understand how important that is,” he added.
Gonsalves disclosed that the Commission is investigating 26 cases of child abuse spurred by reports coming from various communities. These reports range from neglect of children ages three and under, physical abuse and sexual abuse of both boys and girls.
The CCPA in its Sunday afternoon statement said much work is being done at the community level across the Regions to build capacity of parents for the parenting role; for social network supports for at-risk families and to organize and mobilize communities to take their share of the responsibility for keeping children safe, “but it is clear much more needs to be done.”
The East Coast District Child Protection Officers have responded to over 110 suspected cases of abuse for the month of July 2018 and from indications, the figure will not decrease for the month of August, the child care agency said.
According to the CCPA, more than 4,000 cases of child abuse were reported in 2017.