begs to see girlfriend’s photo on dying bed
By Andrew Carmichael
A taxi driver on Sunday morning took his last breath after consuming a lethal dose of poison on Thursday. Lakeram Kewlachand also called ‘Raj’, 23, of Fourth Street, Gangaram, East Canje died at the New Amsterdam Hospital where he had been a patient since Thursday last after ingesting a bottle of poison.
He left behind a suicide note which read: “I kill myself because of Darshnie. I care her but she cheat on me. By don’t give her back anything that I have for her. Good bye Mom, Dad, Aje, Ajo, Ravina and brother.”
The note was reportedly found in his bedroom.
On Thursday, his sister had just cleaned his room and was returning to collect the broom when she found that the door was locked. When she asked her brother to open it he told her to wait. After a while, the door was opened and Kewlachand was seen drinking the contents of a white bottle.
His sister immediately alerted other family members and the 23-year-old man was rushed to the hospital.
According to his father, Mahindra, his son and a 21-year-old girl had been in a relationship for some time. He said on numerous occasions, the girl visited their home. Mahindra said his family, earlier this year, even baked a birthday cake for the girl since her parents were out of the country.
Mahindra related that a few months ago, the girl left for her second trip to the United States of America. However, over the past two months, the two (his now deceased son and the girl) were experiencing difficulty with the relationship. “They were having ups and downs. I told him to forget about her because they were not married as yet and they were getting plenty problems.”
According to Mahindra, his daughter would normally have access to Kewlachand’s electronic tablet and noticed messages and pictures which were sent from the girl to her brother. “She (the girlfriend) say that she don’t want him anymore and he (Kewlachand) say that he gon kill himself and she ask if he is not dead yet. She posts up (nude) pictures of herself and another boy.”
Mahindra said his daughter told her mother about the messages she saw in her brother’s tablet. The distraught man said his wife related everything back to him after which he decided to plead with his son to “forget about the girl”.
On Thursday, it was the second time that Kewlachand tried to take his life. Family members and others had tried to provide counseling. “But is just like throwing water on a duck’s back. Everything going through one ear and coming through the next side; you know when somebody make up their mind to do something…,” the father lamented to this publication.
Amidst request by close family members and others, Kewlachand told his grandmother last Sunday that he was going to give her a surprise before Friday. On Thursday last, he allegedly went to a funeral home in New Amsterdam and selected a coffin. He even took a picture of it and sent it to a female friend who deleted it saying that it was a joke which she did not want to be a part of.
On Saturday while in the hospital, Kewlachand told an uncle that he purchased the poison from a store on Main and Pope Streets in New Amsterdam. On Sunday morning he asked an aunt to get a photograph of his ‘girlfriend’ for him to see. He was promised the photograph during the midday visit. However, within an hour of the request, Kewlachand took his last breath.
Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the world which stands at 44 per 100,000. Comparing this with other countries in the hemisphere shows Suriname’s ratio is 27 per 100,000 whereas Venezuela has a ratio of 3 per 100,000 and Barbados 7 per 100,000. Worldwide the ratio is 11 per 100,000 persons.
Globally, one million people die as a result of committing suicide every year. According to official statistics, in the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60 percent worldwide. It is one of the three leading causes of death among those in the age group of 15-44 in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 age group.
In Guyana, there are more male fatalities resulting from suicide which is more prevalent in rural communities with more that 75 percent falling in the 15-44 age range.
Meanwhile, Lecturer of the University of Guyana, Berbice Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology (Social Work Unit), Paulette Henry, feels that modern trends in agriculture are one of the leading factors which contribute to the rising suicide rate.
“The suicide rate for farmers throughout the world is higher than for the non-farming population. Global data show a high correlation between the use of agrochemicals and suicide,” Henry posited.
According to her, there are seventeen pieces of key legislation addressing the management of chemicals, wholly or partially, in Guyana. She is also adamant that there is a need for institutional capacity building and strengthening within the respective Governmental Institutions.
“We need the enforcement of legislation by the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB), Ministry of Labour, the Food and Drug Department of the Ministry of Health, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Energy Agency, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ministry of Business,” Henry stated.
If you or anyone you know is feeling depressed and possibly contemplating suicide, please call the Guyana Inter-agency Suicide Helpline which operates 24 hours, and is organised by the Guyana Police Force. Telephone -223-0001, 223-0009, 223-0818 Cellphone – 600-7896, 623-4444.