Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 30th 2014 Contents • Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2014
T ime is running out for domestic
violence victim Shanti Rampersad.
The 40-year-old struggling moth-
er of five children and two grandchildren is
searching for a place to call home.
The one-year lease for Rampersad s rickety,
three-bedroom home at Vega de Oropouche,
which she rents, comes to an end today.
Rampersad s landlord is refusing to renew
her lease since he is anxiously waiting to start
the process of rebuilding a house on the prop-
If Rampersad, who single-handedly raises
her children---all girls, ranging from 18 to
three years---fails to move out, legal action
will be taken against her.
"I can be thrown out with my belongings
at the side of the road," Rampersad said.
For the past three months, Rampersad,
who works as a security guard at the Emperor
Valley Zoo, Port-of-Spain, has been searching
for an apartment or house in Sangre Grande
to rent at an affordable price.
"But so far I am coming up empty-handed.
I am checking the newspapers everyday for
a place, but the rent is beyond my reach.
Landlords are asking upwards of $3,000
monthly, which I cannot afford."
The family applied for a Housing Devel-
opment Corporation home several years ago,
but is awaiting a response. Rampersad said
all she can pay is $2,000 a month to rent a
Hooked on alcohol, cocaine
Looking much older than her age, Ram-
persad admitted that she fled her matrimonial
home eight years ago after putting up with
years of physical and verbal abuse at the
hands of her spouse.
"Four times I was admitted to the Sangre
Grande Hospital with black and blue eyes
and a battered body."
In the early stages of marriage, Rampersad
said her life was filled with happiness.
"We had everything going for us. We were
one big happy family," Rampersad recalled,
as tears welled in her eyes.
But Rampersad said her life started to go
downhill when the father of her children
started hanging out with the wrong crowd.
"His friends encouraged him to drink rum.
From the drinking, he became hooked on
In a bid to maintain his habit, Rampersad
said her spouse began stealing items from
their Turure, home and selling them.
"He sold our clothes, the gas tank, pots,
electrical appliances, jewelry, and even the
galvanize sheetings that covered the family s
With three children from the relationship
at that time, Rampersad became a punching
bag when she started complaining about the
missing items. For years, Rampersad said, she
put up with the abuse.
However, in December of 2006, Rampersad
said she built up enough courage and walked
out, despite the fact that she was three months
pregnant with her fourth child.
She moved into a relative s home in Guaico
as a safe haven and took out a warrant for
the children s father to maintain them finan-
cially. But the police were unable to locate
him. As a result, Rampersad started collecting
$1,300 a month in public assistance for three
of the children who attended school.
After the birth of the fourth child, Ram-
persad said she started a relationship with
another man. Soon she was pregnant with
her fifth child. But as fate would have it, the
second relationship did not last.
"When I was seven and a half months
pregnant, the father of my unborn child
Rampersad said after giving birth to her
last child, she pulled herself together and
located a wooden, three-bedroom home in
Vega de Oropouche, which the landlord leased
to her for four years at $400 a month.
"I found myself a job and started to rebuild
Last November, the lease was renewed for
12 months at a reduced rent of $250 a month
as a result of the poor condition of the house.
The five years the Rampersads have rented,
the family managed without pipe-borne water.
There are gaping holes in the wooden floor,
while the steps leading to the front door have
The children are forced to relieve themselves
in a latrine which is overgrown with grass
• Continued on Page A39
Domestic violence victim Shanti Rampersad stands in the livingroom of her unkempt home at
Vega de Oropouche. PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ
The home which
must vacate today.
...time running out for domestic violence victim
'I need an
'I need an
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