Front Page
July 30, 2004

Siblings facing setbacks after horrific
slaying of their mother

by Tim Slinger

They are four little souls whose lives have been interrupted by some of the worse circumstances imaginable.
The mental wounds inflicted on them almost a year ago are still as fresh as if the tragic event occurred just yesterday.{{more}}
After witnessing the killing of their mother last August 17, life has not only been a trial, but also one long nightmare from which it seems they just can’t awake.
Natasha, 12, Natesha, 10, Courtney, 6, and Chevonna DaSouza, 5, along with two-year-old Joel Spencer are the children of the late Pamela DaSouza, who was stabbed to death at her home in “Rotten Town”, Richmond Gap, St Michael, on the fateful Sunday evening.
The untimely and sad event has not only robbed these children of a mother’s love, but has uprooted and separated them from the place they knew as home.
Ironically, she and her five children had just returned from attending a church service when the incident occurred.
With the exception of two-year-old Joel, the children were forced to be relocated to their mother’s birthplace in St. Vincent.
The youngest has been accepted by his father’s Barbadian family.
But despite the outstretched hands of grandparents Victorine, 70, and her husband, 71-year-old Albon DaSouza, the transformation has been a difficult and up-hill battle for the four who relocated to the neighbouring island.
In the absence of professional help since their mother’s killing, the pain and psychological trauma remain ever present in the suddenly expanded household.
Tucked away in the rural district of Overland Village, approximately 27 miles from capital Kingstown, the play and noise-making they once shared and enjoyed in Barbados appears to have bled away forever.
“In the middle of the night, they would shout out for their mother while sleeping,” grandmother Victorine said as she recalled the tough task of making her modest surroundings home to her grandchildren.
“Life is rough, but I have to try and make it with whatever little I have,” she added, while sobbing about her daughter’s death.
The rural home, a mere 20 by 16-foot wooden structure, is cramped with the new arrivals, and everyday maintenance has been demanding and challenging.
The St. Vincent Welfare Department gives Victorine
EC$250 monthly to assist with the battle but the government contribution is just a mere drop in the bucket that is needed for comfort.
A brother, hearing of the plight recently, returned from England to donate some concrete blocks — a gesture aimed at starting the process of rebuilding lives that have been shattered both physically and mentally. Now Victorine hopes that some good Samaritan will add to the rescue attempt of providing adequate shelter and comfort for her traumatised grandchildren.
But much more is needed to heal the scars of August 24, 2003.
Countless tears and emotional outbursts have become a norm in this household.
“He is always saying that if he gets a gun, he would shoot the man that killed his mother,” was how Victorine described the emotion of six-year-old Courtney, who apparently was told by the killer to place a pillow under his dying mother’s head.
Little Chevonna still stares in disbelief as if she hopes for a miracle, while the two eldest, Natesha and Natasha, who are scheduled to return to Barbados to give eyewitness evidence to their mother’s killing, have become withdrawn.
One of the many wishes of these children, plucked from the bosom of their mother, is that some kind-hearted person would donate some story books for them to read during their summer vacation.
In the meanwhile, the grandparents, devout Christians, are praying for peace and closure for their grandchildren.
“We will do all we can do to make them comfortable, but we can only do so much,” Albon said.
For these little ones though, hope for the future remains as unbelievable as the actions that robbed them of a mother.