Tragedy in Buchanan Due to Parental Neglect

Our Grand Bassa  Correspondent, Elton Tiah, yesterday sent us a tragically pitiful story of an alleged suicide by hanging of a 12-year-old girl at her home in Buchanan.

According to Elton’s report, Catherine, who lived with her grandmother, Ms. Judy Lewis, was left without food all day Sunday until Monday while her grandmother went to a meeting.  Upon the grandmother’s return, she found the child dead by hanging.

Apparently unsympathetic about the tragedy she had caused, the grandmother, Ms. Lewis and others attempted taking the body of Catherine to a nearby town for burial, without consulting the police. 

However, the Palm Bay police Station received a tip-off and immediately took over the body for a thorough investigation.

What are grandmothers for?  You mean a whole grandmother would be so uncaring about her own granddaughter’s death that she would connive with others to bury the child secretly without first contacting the police for a thorough investigation before burial takes place?

Somebody in Grand Bassa or somewhere else should write a powerful short story or novel about a wicked grandmother who caused the death of her own granddaughter and tried to cover it up by hiding it from the police.

We are not in this Editorial trying to make an excuse for a child’s indifference toward work. But we do intend to seek an understanding into why a child’s own grandmother would deprive her own granddaughter of food from Sunday to Monday and go off to a meeting — who knows, maybe a church meeting — while leaving her 12-year-old granddaughter lonely and hungry. 

When Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor spoke about poor parenting contributing to the spike in rape cases, people rebuked her to scorn. And while the case of little Catherine is not a rape case but worse, it certainly lends credence to the point the VP was trying to make. 

Parents and grandparents should be careful how they treat children.  It is always dangerous to deprive children of food, for that could drive them to desperation — anxiety,  fear, worry. Today we see the tragic consequence of this, in the case of Catherine Lewis.  This child could have taken an alternative, probably of taking food that had not been given to or reserved for her.  Instead, most probably in desperation about the behavior of her own beloved grandmother, from whom she had expected unlimited affection, compassion and love, Catherine allegedly decided to seize the extreme alternative — taking her own life.

We are here led to ask whether there was none other in the immediate neighborhood or environment who could have come to Catherine’s rescue?

This leads us to realize the critical importance of what the Americans call—and in that country it is often seen on many people’s cars—it goes something like this—“Constant acts of kindness and senseless of beauty.”     

What does this mean?  St. Paul, the Apostle, summed it up this way, asking and himself answering the question: “And what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”   

We constantly remember that once when the Daily Observer office was on McDonald Street, Crown Hill, Monrovia, we one day received a visitor, a Liberian computer expert living in the United States. During our long conversation that day he told us he did not believe in God.  We were surprised, for we knew his mother and grandfather, who were both staunch Episcopalians.   This young computer expert convinced the management to invest in computer technology in order to enhance the newspaper’s online presence.  We agreed with him.  He asked for an advance of US$4,000, which we readily gave him to embark on the project.  But guess what!  We never again heard from this fellow.  Perhaps we should have known better.  For as a non-believer in the Almighty, we should have known that this man had no moral scruples (compunction, regret, shame).   

The Observer did get online, by other means.  We never got back our US$4000 from him. 

Because he did not believe in God, he did not care about anything, certainly not walking humbly with his God, because he had none. 

May the good Lord have mercy on Catherine’s soul and grant her eternal rest.  Let all of us look in our neighborhoods and ask people questions, such as How are you doing? Do you believe?  And ask what you can do to help them find a place of worship and help him or her to get there.

We should take an interest in people in our surroundings and do what we can to help them whenever and wherever we can. In so doing, we could help make the world a better place.