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babitasarjou

The Babita Sarjou doll.

The Babita Sarjou doll.

The Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awarness (CADVA) organisation has unveiled a miniature sculpture of domestic violence victim, Babita Sarjou, whose skeletal remains were found earlier this year in a shallow grave in her husband’s backyard.

Sarjou’s remains were found by police near a fence and alleyway drain at Seaforth Street Campbelville. Her reputed husband, Anand Narine, and an alleged co-accused were subsequently charged with murder. Babita was reported missing in 2010.
The sculpture was unveiled at a forum held by CADVA at the Pegasus Hotel in line with the 16 days of global activism to end violence against women and children from November 25 to December 10. The doll, sculpted by Brazilian sculptor Julianna Lepine, took one month to complete, according to CADVA’s Programme Director Dianne Madray.
Babita’s younger sister, Sunita, spoke at the forum of the sadness still felt when thinking of Babita and how she met her demise. A visibly teary Sunita said to her nephew, Babita’s son who is now ten years old, “we love you very much and we are always here for you. You are the gift from your mother and we are always here to cherish you.”
“Children are suffering in silence because we do little or nothing to help. We ignore their cries through their behaviour,” CADVA’s Guyana representative, Tiffany Jackson, said in her presentation at the forum held in a section of the Savannah Suite. “It is heartbreaking to listen to the stories of individuals who continue to suffer in silence.”
Madray called for a break in the silence of families and victims affected by domestic violence. She said a child left behind when one parent kills another is left in silence because they’ve actually lost both their parents.
CADVA’s statistics suggests some 114 women and children have been killed in Guyana from 2010 to 2014. The organisation is still compiling its statistics on 2015, but nothing as yet is available on 2016.
The programme featured child survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence who shared their stories of losing their parents.
Tuesday, March 8 was a sad day for my sister and I,” one young male survivor recalled. “On that day, we lost our loving mother and kind-hearted mother (name withheld).”
His mother was murdered by his stepfather.
“My mother worked several jobs in order to maintain our home and my stepfather never worked anywhere as he was always drunk and abusive,” the young survivor recalled.
“After my mother’s death, we started living with our grandfather. My sister is still going to school, and I have to work. We find it very difficult without our mother. she never let us know the pain and anger that she was going through. I miss my mother a lot.”
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Babita-Sarjou

By Rabindra Rooplall

A MISSING person case quickly turned to homicide as the skeletal remains of a person, believed to be Babita Sarjou who disappeared six years ago, was discovered in the backyard of her reputed husband’s Lot 51 Seaforth Street, Campbellville, Georgetown property on Sunday.

Police had the property under surveillance for days, after arresting Sarjou’s husband, Anand Narine, and his alleged accomplice. On Sunday morning, detectives unearthed a skull, bones, and pieces of clothing from a three-foot-deep grave, having smashed through concrete to access it.

CADVA representative Dianne Madray and Champa Seonarine walking away from the yard where the remains of a person believed to be that of Babita Sarjou were found

CADVA representative Dianne Madray and Champa Seonarine walking away from the yard where the remains of a person believed to be that of Babita Sarjou were found

Narine’s alleged accomplice had led police to the spot, and he was brought to the scene while the remains were extracted. After the evidence was found, sleuths placed the handcuffed duo into a police vehicle and whisked them away. Babita’s now ten-year-old son was peering out the window as police excavated her remains.

On November 4, 2010, Sarjou, 28, left home after telling her mother, Champa Seonarine, that she would be meeting her estranged husband and four-year-old son at the Kitty Seawall to view the annual Diwali motorcade. She was expected to return to her mother’s Timehri, EBD home later that night, but was never seen again.

In an interview with the media, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum commended the investigators who, after painstaking inquiries, were able to solicit crucial information which led to a breakthrough in the case.

“No longer are we treating this as a missing person (case), it is now a homicide that we are investigating. The remains were found at the back of the house in a shallow grave which was about three feet in depth. So far, we believe that it is the body of Babita Sarjoo,” he disclosed.

DNA TEST
He explained that a DNA test will be done to enable the police to determine with certainty the identity of the skeletal remains.

“We have already obtained samples from the remains, and it will be sent to Trinidad soon, so we can have the case dealt with in an expeditious manner,” he noted.

Underscoring that the police have incriminating evidence against both suspects in custody, the Crime Chief said the police legal advisor has been looking at the case from the initial stage of the investigation, and very soon the police will be able to receive a legal opinion relative to instituting charges against both men.

Questioned about relatives making allegations about the way the police were executing their duties, Blanhum said that if the relatives have an allegation to make against the investigators or the police, such can be channeled through the Police Complaints Authority.

In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Champa Seonarine said all her suspicions were on spot, as she had a gut feeling that her daughter was buried inside the yard.

“Since Babita go missing I keep talking this thing. This is not the way Babita should have been gone. Anand got buildings in there which he was renting, and he had my daughter washing loads of bed sheets, and he asked her not to even break a voice to the girls that were in the apartments,” a tearful Seonarine said.

In composite photos: Police escort Sarjou’s husband Anand Narine into a vehicle after carrying him to the spot where he allegedly buried her body. Narine’s alleged accomplice hides his face as he is escorted to the police vehicle after showing the police where the body was buried in a shallow grave (Delano Williams photos)

In composite photos: Police escort Sarjou’s husband Anand Narine into a vehicle
after carrying him to the spot where he allegedly buried her body. Narine’s alleged
accomplice hides his face as he is escorted to the police vehicle after showing
the police where the body was buried in a shallow grave (Delano Williams photos)

She explained that when Babita got married in 2004, she visited her two weeks later and upon her arrival at the home, the gate was padlocked.

Mrs Seonarine said her daughter had to contact Anand to get the gate opened and she suspected something was wrong when he used derogatory remarks in her presence. After that experience, her daughter always complained of having a turbulent relationship.

“When I call his mother to talk about Babita and Anand (with intention) to fix their relationship, the mother said to me on the phone that ‘y’al should see with he, because he get into an accident and he get brain damage, and how he head ain’t good,” the mother lamented.

She said that Anand’s mother knows a lot pertaining to her son’s evil and wicked actions.

“Imagine one of his aunties from Brazil told Babita that there will be many things he will do to her. She didn’t deserve this; if he know they couldn’t have lived (together), he should have left her,” the woman declared.

As it relates to her grandson, who is now ten years old, Mrs Seonarine said she was never allowed to see him. Reflecting on an occasion when she had visited the child’s school just to see him and express her joy, she said the headmistress had allowed the visit, but the child returned home and disclosed to his father that he had seen his grandmother.

“Anand meet Babita and tell her he don’t want nobody going to the school to see (the boy) again because bad things will happen. We had to just give it up. Imagine I tried talking to him February last, but he wouldn’t talk,” she said sadly.

“The family is not one that anybody can trust. These are people you should not keep on earth anymore. I wish they could bring back hanging in Guyana, because is just waste time for the Government to mind dem in prison, and when they come out they doing the same things over and over,” the woman vented.

She stressed that once Anand is found guilty, he should be hanged. Although criticising Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who was the Crime Chief when her daughter disappeared, Mrs Seonarine nevertheless praised the detectives and the Police Force, especially Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, whom she noted was the real force behind the investigations.

“Now we have a new Government in place, a new Crime Chief, but I don’t have any confidence in the present Commissioner of Police. I want to thank the police and all who put out their work to have justice prevail. They did a good job, especially the Crime Chief Blanhum,” she noted.

On the fateful night that the woman disappeared, family members had attempted to her on her two mobile phones, but they appeared to have been turned off.

Mrs Seonarine said she first informed ranks at the Timehri Police Station about her daughter’s disappearance, then made a similar report at the Kitty Police Station. That led to police detaining and questioning a man and searching his home and septic tank. They had also searched two other homes, but found no trace of the missing woman. Checks with Immigration officials showed no record of her leaving Guyana.

In 2014, police requested DNA samples from Sarjou’s mother after finding the skeletal remains of an unidentified woman on a Berbice foreshore.

Before her disappearance, Sarjou had filed harassment case against her husband, but the matter was subsequently dismissed. Her husband was accused of plastering copies of a nude picture of Sarjou on the fence of her workplace at BK International.

The couple was not together at the time, and according to her mother, it was the fourth time that Sarjou had left her husband, and she had vowed not to return even though he was keeping her son away from her.

The couple was being counselled at the Ministry of Human Services, and Sarjou was told that if she wanted to file for custody of her son, she had to empower herself by being gainfully employed. It was this that drove her to find a job, and for months she had worked at the company, where she was described as a hard worker.

Instead of being embarrassed and cowed into silence, Babita had reported the matter of the nude pictures’ display to the police, leading to them instituting the charge against Narine.

The day Babita disappeared had marked three months since the nude printouts were plastered outside her workplace. Earlier this month, top cop Seelall Persaud and Crime Chief Blanhum met with Champa Seonarine and formally notified her that police had reopened investigations into her daughter’s disappearance.

The Caribbean American Domestic Awareness Organisation (CADVA), a human rights organisation, has been pressing the police to have the Sarjou case reopened. Chief Operations Officer Dianne Madray had criticised the police for the investigation.

“Every little clue they get, the organisation would forward the information to the police,” she said. “When she disappeared, we gave her phone to the police, where she was threatened. We showed them Facebook messages, but none of those things can be found now,” the woman said.

Madray said that CADVA had appealed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali- Hack, for assistance. Madray also said she had sent a letter to Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, and on March 29 last, she received a response.

On Sunday, Madray and a tearful Mrs Seonarine stood on the roadway looking into the yard where the remains believed to be that of Babita were found. In tears, she loudly declared in the direction of Narine’s house, sending a message to his present wife that nothing good would come of their relationship, since only an ill fate lies ahead for him.

http://guyanachronicle.com/shallow-grave-found-skeletal-remains-believed-to-be-that-of-babita-sarjou/

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Founder of VDay and One Billion Rising, Eve Enster with CADVA's Founder Diane Madray

Founder of VDay and One Billion Rising, Eve Enster with CADVA’s Founder Diane Madray

A global activist against violence against women and the Caribbean Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) organization are hoping to help Guyanese grassroots women diagnose and find lasting solutions to the scourge.

Founder of One Billion Rising, Eve Enster, and CADVA representatives are Sunday night at 7 O’clock due to participate in a panel discussion titled: “State of Female Justice in Guyana: Social Justice With Love” at the Pegasus Hotel.

She emphasized the importance of engaging and involving ordinary women in the process.

“The grassroots people need to determine what they want to happen. I think it’s really in the hands of the women who are being most impacted by violence  about what are the next steps,” said Enster, an award-winning playwright well-known for “Vagina Monologues”,

Regional Coordinator of the One Billion Rising Movement and CADVA’s Programme Director, Diane Madray said Guyanese from all walks of life are invited to attend the event. “We need to have our women to collectively come together to understand what justice means to them,” she said.

She stressed the importance of follow-up activity and assured that the panel discussion would be not be a talk-shop because the outcomes would be addressed meaningfully. “The talk- we have to find a way to stop this. We have to find a way to implement some proper changes and follow-up.  I think that’s the thing that’s missing,” she said.

Madray reiterated the need for a Missing Persons Act. She announced that CADVA as struck a deal with and Eureka Labs were exploring ways of providing fast and reliable DNA testing to assist in identifying the bodies of missing persons.

The CADVA Founder noted that the domestic violence experiences of Guyanese women were no different from those in other parts of the world and so she hoped that the One Billion Rising movement would share common interests with women in the Caribbean and other parts of the world.

Click Here for Full Article:
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CADVA Founder Sukree Boodram

Citing several cases of unsolved murders and unconfirmed identities, the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) group on Sunday announced that in partnership with global activist group One Billion Rising, it will be looking at strengthening the Missing Persons Act.

This is according to CADVA Founder Sukree Boodram who made the announcement during a press conference in the Savannah Suite of the Pegasus International Hotel, in Kingston, Georgetown. Boodram remarked that for too long, Guyanese parents and families have buried persons without any sort of confirmation of their identity and too many bodies have been found and have remained unidentified.

She contended that proper systems need to be put in place to ensure that families get some sort of closure when their loved ones go missing and are not positively identified.

The CADVA Founder also pointed out that although Guyana’s Government has been able to establish a Forensic Laboratory, the facility does not have the required capabilities to conduct DNA testing.

It was against that backdrop that Eureka Medical Laboratory will be partnering with CADVA, Boodram said,   in hopes of making DNA testing available locally.

Boodram pointed to the recent disappearance of Nygozi Goodman, a St Stanislaus High School teacher, noting that no confirmation has been given on the identity of the discovered body.

“Her family doesn’t even know if it’s her body that was found, or what became of the DNA testing… what we need to do is find a way and liaison and put systems in place,” said Boodram.

“You have families who are burying their daughters, their wives, their children and don’t even know who they are burying,” the social activist declared.

 Domestic violence

It was also explained that the two groups will be facilitating a “grassroots” consultation process, with Dr Faith Harding and Dr Dawn Stewart.

The consultation is geared at hearing from the everyday woman on suggestions to tackle the scourge of domestic violence that has been affecting not only Guyana’s society but the world over from time immemorial.

Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues and founder of One Billion Rising, said that the general aim of the events was to bring the revolution to Guyana.

One Billion Rising is a global campaign to end violence against women, rise for justice, and promote gender equality. It was started in 2012 as part of the V-Day movement. The “billion” refers to the UN statistic that one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion. In 2012, the One Billion Rising campaign culminated in the biggest mass global action to end violence against women ever, with tens of thousands of events held in more than 190 countries.

Ensler said that this year, the rising is not just about domestic violence, but it is also against several injustices meted out to women as a result of what she called the archaic system of “patriarchy.”

“Patriarchy is rampant throughout the world so it is not a surprise that it is here in Guyana,” said Ensler.

It was also noted that as part of the activities planned, there will be plays based on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Babita Sarjoo and Neesa Gopaul.

Click Here for Full Article:

http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/2014/09/28/new-push-to-streamline-local-dna-testing/

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Through the snow storm , rain and sleet from Pennsylvania to New York City, CADVA’s Chief Operations Officer and Program Director, Dianne Madray arrived in New York City today for the big day tomorrow. From her home in Pennsylvania she was able to organize the first united Caribbean Rising where countries in the Caribbean will be speaking a united language tomorrow: RISING FOR JUSTICE. CADVA would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who were instrumental in making this possible. With little to no funds, CADVA was able to use our many voices for this one cause. As we continue to grow and spread our wings over our Caribbean Nations, we are positive change will come. We are confident we are ready to embrace any opportunity and obstacle that we may face. Thanks to a giving and caring community that support CADVA and will continue to support us. Tomorrow, we rise for those who may be too weak to rise for themselves. Tomorrow we Rise for Justice

http://www.onebillionrising.org/3477/dianne-madray-caribbean-st-lucia-jamaica-trinidad-guyana/

DianneMadray-Caribbean

Dianne Madray is the Chief Operations Officer and Program Director of CADVA (Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness) organization based in the USA. Dianne holds a Masters Degree in Community Mental Health and has dedicated herself to helping women and children, especially the youth in providing them with the tools to create a positive contribution to community development through volunteerism and public speaking platforms. Dianne is also the founder of an educational and recreational center for under-privileged children called I.M.R.A.R.C. in Cane Grove, Guyana-South America. Additionally, Dianne has also worked extensively on women empowerment programs developing a framework for changing the cultural mindsets of the community to include a mental health component when combating the violence women and children face and dealing with residual effect from the Trauma of Abuse .

The mission of CADVA, INC. is to provide a safe environment where individuals and communities can share and receive information to help combat domestic violence.  We do this by building the platform for our Caribbean communities through dialogue forums and breakout sessions against domestic violence through education and public awareness campaigns not only in the USA but across the Caribbean.

obrcaribbean(at)onebillionrising.org

CARIBBEAN ONE BILLION RISING PARTNERS:

Caribbeans-1billion Rising for Justice 2014

Damali Robertson Karen Ayee and Sukree Boodram: CADVA – Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (USA & Jamaica)

Souyenne Dathorne and Veli Kin: PROSAF – Positive Reactions over Secrets and Fears (ST. LUCIA)

Sami Heeralal: facebook.com/RisingforJusticeTnT (TRINIDAD)

Imarah Radix: S4 Foundation | facebook.com/S4Foundation (GUYANA)

 

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