In light of the recent tragedy where three-year-old Ramdeo Ferriera of Lot 585 15th Street, Foulis, East Coast Demerara (ECD) was brutally stabbed to death by his mother; Psychologist, Dr Dawn Stewart is holding out that the woman should be psychologically evaluated and the necessary treatment provided.
In the same breath, she added that the woman should also be incarcerated for committing the heinous crime.
Weighing in on the issue, Stewart told this media group that it is a form of mental illness to believe that it is in the best interest for someone’s child or children to die.
“There is a category of mental illness where a parent can suffer a psychotic episode and actually believe that it is in the child’s best interest to die” the doctor disclosed.
The psychologist stated that these episodes such as maltreatment, overzealous discipline or neglect could be brought on as a result of severe depression or worry in addition to other factors.
Making an inference, Dr Stewart explained “Things could be such like, parents that are angry over another parent that would prompt them to want to kill their child… the signs are in most cases persons are depressed, they are worried about something, they are fermented so to speak but most of the times; they are under a great amount of stress”.
The psychologist further noted that another sign that should be searched for to determine whether someone indeed suffered a mental episode is the fact that the frustration in most cases is usually directed to children under the age of five.
She explained “Sometimes the child’s death is not to be the goal of the parental action but it is an action of the parent to kill the child and usually, these children are under the age of five. Often times, they beat them to death rather than actually stabbing or shooting them. An actual psychotic episode brought on by some schizophrenia or some postpartum depression or some type of depression could also lead to that… those are some of the things that you see in research that actually coordinate with the killing of children”.
However, Dr Stewart posited that if found guilty of the crime, they should be incarcerated but should also have a psychological assessment…“not to deter the incarceration but to assist them in knowing what type of treatment is needed”.
It was reported that the lad was killed after his mother pursued him with a knife and later stabbed him to his neck and back.
He was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) by ranks attached to the Enmore Police Outpost, who were called to the scene by neighbours that were informed of what transpired by the child’s four-year-old brother, but succumbed to his injuries at around 12:00h.
His 26-year-old mother, Brenda Ferreira, after her arrest told Police that she dreamt she was going to die on Saturday and as such, did not want to leave her favourite child (Ramdeo) behind. As such, she decided to kill him.
According to the woman’s 50-year-old reputed husband, Shamlall Mahadeo, his wife started to act strangely on Tuesday last however, after reporting this to the Police, no one showed up.
“Since Tuesday night like she start trip out, and she talking all kind of thing and making plenty noise. I went to the Enmore Police Station and report it, and them never come! The neighbours all report it, but (Police) nah come! Them only come after she done kill the boy! That was she favourite one. Just this morning (Saturday) he was telling me ‘Daddy, bye-bye’, when I was going to work,” the man said amidst his tears.
He added that his wife was in the habit of neglecting the children, which would cause them to have arguments.
It was also reported that the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) was even called in on one occasion but found no one at home on the day of their visit and never returned to the East Coast home.
The Agency has since responded in a public statement, asserting that whether or not a report was ever received.
“The CPA Intake Manager and the District Supervisor are examining the call records and are expected to produce a report on the matter. What is known is that no such report of this case was made in the past four days” the CPA said in addition to expressing its remorse.
According to CPA, “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 that much more needs to be done.”
Meanwhile, if incarcerated, the Guyana Prison Service would be unable to treat the young mother as it was recently revealed at a Commission of Inquiry that no resources, financial or human, is available to deal with mentally ill prisoners. (Kizzy Coleman)