ON June 22, Petrina Salandy, 39, was shot dead while walking home holding her baby daughter in her arms and with her three sons in tow.
The Express yesterday visited St Paul Street in Port of Spain and spoke to Salandy’s husband Kurt Fields to find out how the children have been coping since the tragedy as school gets set to resume today.
Lorenzo, 13, passed this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination and is expected to enter Form One at Success Laventille Secondary School. He is the only one of Salandy’s sons who will be returning to school today.
Raheem, 11, a pupil of the St Margaret’s Boys’ Anglican School in Belmont, is not expected to return to school until next week.
Jaydon, four, a pupil of the Little Lambs Pre-School is also expected to resume classes next week.
It is not just an extra week of vacation for Raheem and Jaydon though, financial problems caused Fields to delay their return to school. All three boys are said to be still traumatised. They have moved out of their family’s St Barb’s, Port of Spain home and are now staying with relatives.
“They could not sleep the same night. I came back here with them for like two days and it was chaos whole day, whole night...they were just bawling and uneasy,” Fields said.
“Look last night was fireworks and (when) Jaydon heard the fireworks burst, this boy just run and dive on the ground, holding his head and bawling, trembling like a leaf,” he said.
Fields said he has approached the State for assistance but things have not been working out. He said public assistance cheques for two months were delivered to a wrong address and subsequently cashed.
Fields said an application at the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for a house has gone missing.
“I had an application there for about 18 years, I went back, we both went to see about it; they can’t find any file. They didn’t give me a file number. They made me fill out an application again...they are telling me they ain’t seeing nothing like that in the system,” Fields stated.
Fields said so far he has only gotten a food card from the Ministry of the People and Social Development.
“So far Social Development only tried to assist with a food card but we cannot live here,” Fields said.
Fields yesterday took the Express on a tour of the house he and his children have since left vacant in order to find safety with relatives.
He pointed to several bullet holes in the house including through a wall above the head of the bed where the children once slept.
“The bullet burst right between the bed and the partition and stuck right over the children’s head. They laying down sleeping and the bullet was right over their head,” Fields said.
Baby Kayla, who was in Salandy’s arms when her mother was killed, turned seven months on August 19.
Fields said Kayla’s godmother has stepped up to the plate and has assisted with taking care of the baby.
Fields yesterday called on the State to help.
“These children are under pressure. I am not begging, I am asking for help. The children need somewhere to stay. They need counselling. Please do not turn your backs on them,” Fields said.
“I don’t expect anything for me, I am past that but these children are in need,” he said.