PORT OF SPAIN –– Ever since they were evicted from their Couva home last Saturday, 18-month-old twins Rahesh and Sahesh Rampersad have been sleeping on the porch of their great grandmother’s home in Princes Town. At night their parents, Sarah and Ramnath Rampersad, lie awake as the coldness and insects make it difficult to sleep.
Their lives turned upside-down when men claiming to be bailiffs forced their way into Seema Ramsaroop’s home at Exchange Lots, Couva. The man loaded the family’s belongings onto trucks and dumped everything at the home of Ramsaroop’s mother in Glenroy, Princes Town.
The family’s belongings — two stoves, a washing machine, furniture, mattresses, utensils, clothes, toys and a crib — have been in the driveway of the tiny home where they were soaked by rains that fell over the weekend. Yesterday, the family was still trying to salvage items from the yard to place in a shed.
The family’s troubles began in February when Ramsaroop’s 65-year-old husband, Krishna Rampersad, died and a relative began hounding them to move out, claiming the house was his. Ramsaroop, 38, has ten children between the ages of 21 and three.
Ramsaroop’s mother, Sandra showed the T&T Guardian her modest two-bedroom house, which she already shares with another granddaughter and now has to accommodate an additional 13 people. A mattress could not fit into the living room, so the family has to cram into whatever space they can find at night.
“Life these past few days has been miserable. This is really hard times. When I see how my children and grandchildren are sleeping, I feel heartbroken,” Ramsaroop said.
“My husband is not around anymore and he was the strong one in the family. He would not have let anything happen to his family, but now he is not around, I have no one to help me.”
She said she wants help to get her home back. She wants to take legal action against the relative who evicted her family but cannot even afford an appointment with a lawyer.
Ramsaroop and Krishna got together when she was 15 and by 17, she was pregnant with their first child. It was then she moved into the house at Couva where she has lived for the last 21 years together. She said the deed to the house was in her father-in-law’s name.
Ramsaroop said on Saturday her husband’s relative gave her sister $6,000 to rent an apartment. Ramsaroop, who has been a housewife all her adult life, said the money can only supply food for up to two weeks. One of her sons works part-time and his money can only purchase food. With no one else to care for the children, she has applied for government grants, but none had been forthcoming so far. Her younger children attend school in Couva and will have to stay away from classes today.
Ramsaroop said that around 8 a.m. last week Saturday, two men claiming to be bailiffs entered the yard with a group of men. They showed her a letter from her husband’s relative and said they had instructions to evict them from the house. She said the men refused to show identification or the document showing ownership of the property. She said the document they had showed ownership for another property, already owned by the husband’s relative.
Ramsaroop said she ran inside the house and locked all the doors, using furniture to block the entrances. However, the men broke through, almost toppling a cupboard onto one of her children.
“I started to bawl and cry when they started knocking down the door. I told them to show me a court order, but they said they did not have to show me any documents and they kicked down the door.
“One of the men told the other that my little girl was standing by the door but he did not care. He just kicked in the door and came in with garbage bags, opening my cupboards and wardrobe, packing everything. They came here and dump everything.”