In what police believe was a land dispute turned deadly, a 46-year-old female teacher was brutally stabbed with an icepick in front of her Standard Two pupils at the St Pious Boys’ RC School in Arouca on Monday.
Cathy Maharaj is now said to be fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, where her condition was classed as “very critical.”
The incident occurred around 2 pm when her attacker, who is said to be 26-years-old, unexpectedly stormed into her classroom and dealt her two stabs in the chest and three stabs to her back in full view of her shocked pupils.
Guardian Media was told that the children began screaming and crying, causing other members of staff to run into the classroom where they found Maharaj on the ground covered in blood.
The attacker fled the scene but has been identified as the ex-boyfriend of one of Maharaj’s close female relatives.
Police have since launched a manhunt for the suspect, whom they said has several matters before the court and is also well-known to the police. He was also shot and wounded a few months ago and was hospitalised.
This incident sparked shock, outrage and horror among parents whose children attend the school, teachers and other support staff, who are still very traumatised.
One parent, who spoke anonymously, said she was concerned about the security at the school and the emotional stability of the children who witnessed the bloody attack.
“We understand that the security guard on duty that day is new to the school and was not aware of all the security protocols and would have let the man in to see the teacher, but what happens to the children now?
“They (pupils) will be scarred for life and relive this horrible sight in their little minds forever. They need real professional help to overcome this. What has our country become? People are filled with too much anger and rage. God help us.”
Speaking with the Guardian Media yesterday, Maharaj’s daughter Anushka said her mother’s attacker was her ex-boyfriend whom she ended a relationship with last year. However, she said the attack had nothing to do with their separation but an alleged breach of contract in the purchase of a parcel of land from her mother.
“He started building on the land without permission and put down some pieces of steel and he wanted payment for that, but there was an initial agreement to purchase the land and he breached it. She told him he couldn’t be paid for the steel and told him that they would talk about it some more after school because she was in her classroom. That’s when he took out the icepick and stabbed her several times,” Anushka told Guardian Media.
A close friend of Maharaj, who wished not to be identified, said Maharaj didn’t deserve being attacked.
“That lady is very hard working and respectable…she didn’t deserve this. It’s a very sad day.”
Education Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday wished for a speedy recovery to the teacher but also gave the assurance that a thorough investigation will be conducted to ensure the unfortunate incident is not repeated.