DAD: I KNOW LAW WILL TAKE ITS COURSE
By Cecily Asson Sunday, October 21 2012
A five-year-old boy, who was allegedly burnt on his right hand with a hot eating fork by a close female relative after she accused him of stealing, has been discharged from hospital. The punishment was inflicted on Miguel Gomes after he had placed a few toy animals that were the property of his school in his bag and took them home.
Yesterday, Miguel left the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), where he had been warded since Thursday, in the care of his worried father Robert Gomes, 37. The child is now staying at the home of another relative. When Sunday Newsday visited him yesterday, Miguel’s right hand remained heavily bandaged. The 28-year-old relative who carried out the act, police said, had accused the First Year primary school student of stealing some toy animals from a class project he had worked on during the day at school, and taking them home.
Police said the relative allegedly put the eating fork on a stove, heated it and burned the child on his hand as she sought to teach him a lesson that he must not steal. According to a police report, Gomes went to a house at Lengua Road, Princes Town, where his son has been staying for the last four weeks, and observed burn marks on the child’s right hand. He immediately sought medical attention for the boy at the Princes Town Health Facility, where, following queries, nurses notified officers at the Princes Town Police Station.
Officers later visited the institution and questioned the father and son. The younger Gomes was later transferred to the SFGH where he was treated and warded until his discharge yesterday morning. Investigations later revealed that a heated eating fork was placed in the palm of the child’s hand and on the back of his hand. When Sunday Newsday visited the family yesterday, little Miguel was having a meal. He was using his injured hand, which remains heavily bandaged, to feed himself. His father, who has three other children aged nine, seven and six, said he was still in shock over the incident that left his last child traumatised.
The outraged father told Sunday Newsday, “I don’t have much to say on the matter, except that I know the law will take its course.”
However, he did say his son is a loving child and did not deserve such harsh punishment for his mistake. He continued, “For me, Miguel is such a sweet little boy and everybody knows how he loves animals.
He was involved in a class project and took up a few of the toy animals and brought them home. What he did was wrong, but that’s not how you deal with the problem. He didn’t deserve it.” The toys have since been returned to the school. Gomes remained at his son’s bedside during the two days he was at hospital. He said the child received proper medical attention and the injury “is healing”. He added, “I am happy that he is out of hospital. I really hope what happened to him will not affect him in any way, because I love him and work hard to ensure that he and his siblings have what they need.” A Princes Town woman is expected to appear before a magistrate in the Princes Town Magistrate’s Court tomorrow to answer a charge of willfully assaulting the child to cause unnecessary suffering and injury.
On June 25, Chaguanas mother of four, Kamla Ramcharan, was sentenced to three years hard labour for burning her eight-year-old daughter Vishala Bikharrie’s left hand, causing her third degree burns. She had appeared in the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Gillian David-Scotland. Vishala was accused of stealing $5 from a classmate at the Montrose Vedic School, where she is a student.
Ramcharan was arrested at her Longdenville home after the June 14 incident, in which she placed the child’s hand on a hot tahwah, (a flat iron plate used for baking and frying.) She pleaded guilty to the charge.