Hanging ends 24 years of fear and abuse for family
- but human torch mother's life still at risk
December 19, 2006
Forty-five-year-old Ramdial Bissoondyal, who had hanged himself after dousing his ex-wife with gasoline and setting her afire, was laid to rest on Sunday effectively closing the book on the 24 years of fear and brutal abuse he inflicted on his family.
For one, should his 37-year-old ex-wife, Dularie Bissondyal survive she will have scars to remind her of her former husband's brutality.
The woman sustained burns to 90% of her body on December 4 when the man doused her with gasoline and turned her into a human torch. The next day, he was found hanging from a rope in his mother's Cumberland, Canje, Berbice home.
It was around 5.35 am on December 4, when the woman got up, as she has been doing for years, to go and purchase fish to sell. But as she opened her door, the man she had been afraid of for almost all of her life was standing there with a bowl in his hand. She rushed back into her house and he followed her into the kitchen. When she enquired from him what was in the bowl he said, "Kool Aid" before dousing her with it and scratching a match. He left her screaming and when her daughter Geeta responded to her mother's screams she found her dousing herself with water to put out the flames.
Bissoondyal's children attended his funeral on Sunday after his sisters visited and begged them to go. Geeta told Stabroek News it was not that they were sorry their father had died rather it was out of some strange need to show respect that they decided to go to the funeral.
She said their mother, who has been in the Georgetown Public Hospital since the incident, said "Praise the Lord" when she heard he had died. Geeta added that the woman said even if she did not survive the attack she would die knowing he was no longer around to torment his children.
It was a sad ending to a union that probably started when they were both too young and one that from all indications knew no love. Dularie Bissoondyal was just 13 years old when she married Ramdial and it was from that early stage that he began drinking and abusing his wife. According to Geeta, her mother was pregnant at the age of 14 when she received such a beating from her husband that she lost the child.
And not only was he abusive but the man never liked to work. Dularie was forced to become a fish vendor at the age of 13. Geeta said after her mother lost the baby an aunt roped her into the 'buying and selling business' and she has been doing that since along with her fish vending business.
"She does walk and sell in dah morning and in dah afternoon she selling or buying. Whole day she a work, she never does rest she always wuking," the young woman, who is also married with two children, said of her mother. On the other hand, she said, her father had been jailed several times because he stole.
She recalled that there was never any real happiness in the home only in rare moments when her father was sober. Not only did the man abuse his wife, but he also abused his four children who were also afraid of him.
Dularie's separation from him was her second since their union. She had attempted it before but took him back and then one day he almost strangled her to death but she was saved by her brother who heard her struggles.
"She lef he and she tell we is we father and she ent kay if we talk to he but she done with he till she dead. She say she ent want no man she just go live fo she children dem," the daughter said. She said her mother kept her word and rebuffed all of her father's subsequent advances and continued working all the days of her life.
"She never even does buy any good clothes and go out and suh, is just wuk, wuk. She just happy when she children [the youngest being 14] dem happy, we is she life."
She said after her father tried to kill her mother they pledged that they wanted nothing to do with him and had even threatened to harm him if they saw him again.
"When he dead is like a sorry dat he dead but a glad still because I couldna see he after wah he do to me mother. Suh we go just go to dah funeral but not to cry or anything. A good thing he dead, because if he live we woulda be afraid of he."
Recounting some of the abuse they sustained at the hands of their father, she said when he was in one of his dangerous moods he would put them to stand on one leg and hold the toe of the other leg while balancing a pail of water on their heads; if any water spilled he would beat them. He would also lock the youngest of them in a safe - just for the fun of it.
She said after the separation, and because the three eldest children live in the same lot with their mother in different houses, her father would visit and once he was not drunk he was okay. She said he would help them to do things around the yard and they would pay him or buy clothes for him.
"Some time we use to ask he bout mammy, and he used to say how he ent get nothing to do wid she. But den next time he would say he go kill she. He tell we how he get a surprise fo we fo Christmas." The surprise was the tragic incident on December 4.
Geeta said her mother was no longer very afraid of her husband because she said her sons were men now and their father would not want to hurt her with them around.
"But he know me brother [who is 14] ent been home so he set fo she."
Shortly after the incident Geeta had told Stabroek News that in the past her father had burnt down a house, broken his mother's jaw, chopped her uncle, fractured her grandmother's skull, and broken her grandfather's hand, among other things. She had said that her father served sentences at the Mazaruni and Camp Street prisons for inflicting injuries on members of her family.
The final chapter of Ramdial's life has ended and perhaps a new one has opened for Dularie and her children opened, and, according to Geeta, thankfully this one would not include her father.