Child marriages and betrothals originated in the pre-Mughal era of Indian history as a means of creating a tangible bond between two families.
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Dad kills toddlers
The gruesome discovery of the dead bodies of a man and his two toddlers at the side of a trace in Matura at 6 am yesterday morning rocked the quiet east coast village. According to police reports, a pumpkin farmer found the bodies near his garden in Mora Trace, off the village’s main road.
A bottle of herbicide believed to be Gramoxone was on the ground near them and police suspect it may have been a case of murder/suicide, in which Barry Karimath, 34, poisoned his two-year old daughter Keyanna Mayers and 10-month old son Omari Mayers. Karimath, police said, lives in the South and the children lived with their mother, 24-year-old Okilia Mayers, in Barataria.
Karimath had custody of the children on Saturday. He owned a Black Mazda 323 but the vehicle was nowhere in sight. How he ended up in Matura is yet to be known. The farmer said around 9.30 pm Saturday night, he went to his “joupa” (hut) in his garden to spend the night and saw Karimath standing near the trace with Keyanna and Omari. Curious, he asked what he was doing there and Karimath replied he had paid a woman $6,000 for a bush bath and he was waiting for her.
The farmer said he retired for the night and when he rose at six the next morning, he saw the dead bodies of the man and two children and called the police. The police found Karimath’s cellphone and called the children’s mother who said she had tried calling him after midnight but he had not answered. She said she had texted him and he sent back a message saying he was going to kill himself and the children.
According to police reports, Okilia said she did not know where Karimath was and planned to call the police in the morning. Councillor for the Matura area Terry Rondon said the whole village, including children, trekked to the area to see the bodies of Karimath, Keyana and Omari yesterday morning. He said he cannot remember a murder like this involving children occurring in the area and said the young people are traumatised.
“I am arranging some counselling sessions for them. There is too much anger in this country.” Rondon appealed to men to “take it down.” Head of the Child Protection Task Force Diana Mahabir-Wyatt was at a loss for words when the Guardian called her for a comment on the tragedy. “What a tragedy. What a waste of life. It’s children two years old and ten months. Your heart bleeds for them.” Mahabir said the Task Force had been discussing whether a father should be given custody of children when parents are separated.
“Very rarely do you hear a child being killed or abused when the mother has custody. It’s usually when the father has them. “I don’t know how we can prevent the father from taking them? It is the court that orders custody. You can’t ask the court to be more careful. “If, over and over again, nothing happened to the children when the father had them, how can you tell that one day he would snap? All over the world there are people who are becoming mentally unstable.”
Mahabir-Wyatt recalled the case of the 14-year-old Brandon Hargreaves who reportedly died from a fall while play-fighting with another boy at St Michael’s School for Boys in Diego Martin last Tuesday night. His mother who lives abroad wants the school to be investigated. “This is the same mother who locked him a dog kennel naked,” Mahabir-Wyatt noted.