by Kurt Campbell in Essequibo
A gathering of neighbours rejoiced Thursday morning as the police and medical professionals took away a 31-year-old woman from her Richmond, Essequibo home where she had been locked against her will in a room for several months. The woman is believed to be mentally ill.
The issue was reported to a government team holding an outreach on the Essequibo Coast by a concerned resident and the woman’s rescue was immediately organised.
When the officials got to the house, they found the woman all alone in the room, which was locked from the outside, living in her own filth. The windows in the room were all barred up with huge pieces of wood and the door was padlocked from the outside.
There was no mattress on the roughly built bed frame and the room was littered with dried human waste and garbage and left over food.
Tears came to the eyes of several residents as they recalled the woman’s younger years as a smart person embarking on a nursing career.
She reportedly emerged among the top performers in the region in the year she wrote her secondary exit examinations. She lived alone with her 62 year-old-mother and was locked in a room with a hole left in the door, through which she was fed.
Her mother claimed that she had only been locked away for a year and recalled incidents of rape perpetuated on both herself and daughter by intruders.
Police confirmed receiving the reports of rape, but despite arresting the suspect, the mother and daughter continued to be threatened by intruders, the woman said.
But neighbours told a different story, claiming that the woman had been locked away for more than five years against her will. She was forced to eat, sleep and and pass waste in the room and was seldom let out for a bath.
The state of the room and the smell of the house told the story without questions being asked.
But according to the mother and older brother, the young lady started suffering from mental illness about seven years ago, forcing her to quit her nursing job in the city and stay home.
The crying woman said she took her daughter to several doctors and sought help through the welfare division but while some medical and other assistance was offered, her daughter’s situation remained the same.
She said she would often have to defend herself against acts of physical abuse from her daughter.
The mother also recalled that her daughter would attempt to destroy and break up the house whenever she was let out.
She believed locking her daughter away was the best solution.
But neighbours, said the family’s resort to lock the woman away may have contributed to the worsening of her situation.
They were happy that the police and other authorities responded to their pleas for help. The young woman was taken away for medical care while her mother was left behind.
The family appeared poor. There was hardly any furniture in the small house and the mother explained that she was a single mother faced with a troubling situation.
She said she was also happy that her daughter was being taken away to receive help and she hopes that she returns better than she left.