Parents at odds, while a little boy yearns for attention
“I can’t express my feelings about it right now. It was terrible and I can’t see how somebody could do something like that to a mother. Me and the father might have whatever differences we have but that have nothing to with the child. I would call him on numerous occasions to come for the child and he would not come. This is just wrong,” she said rapidly.
She is a 22-year-old police constable who is heavily pregnant with her third child. A relative of the father of her eldest child removed him from her home without her knowledge and after one night of relentless searching, she received a call from the Child Protection Office in Vreeden-Hoop. The child was removed on October 29 and she had placed the child’s photograph on Facebook asking for assistance. It was shared by many. She later let it be known that the child was safe and gave the circumstances under which he went missing.
I reached out to her and Abigail Bess willing agreed to speak to me on the record. She explained we had to speak on the phone because of her pregnancy.
“Right now I already one day over me due date and this thing just stress me out and me pressure now high I have to rest,” she told me.
She then launched into, what she described as “frustrations”, she has had with the child’s father as she attempts to ensure the two share a relationship.
“Sometimes this child would call he and say he want to go by he and he would say, ‘Daddy will collect you this weekend’ and when the weekend come no Daddy and Daddy phone turn off,” the young woman said.
“Look April gone, this child had kite flying and I had to work and I call he and he promise to come and see this boy fly he kite. So, I dress he and I carry he to the park. You know he never show up? … The teacher had to look he after and I hurry back for he when I finish working,” she continued.
“Then during the August holiday, I call he and tell he, ‘at least you could keep you son for a month and even if you want me to provide things for him I would do it’ because I know he does pay me through the court, so I said I would buy things.
“But you know what? He never come for the child. My mother even offered him to take the child by him because he was with her for the holidays and he said yes and when my mom turn up, the house lock up and nobody home.
“And I even told the magistrate when we went to court after I summons he that I don’t see why a child should have two parents and he has only one home.
“Now when school open back this child not doing no work. I use to had to scribble the work and he would do it when we get home. I do it the first day and the next day is the same thing and I start to get annoyed and I started to put some lashes on him.
“When I started putting the lashes on the child my cousin stop me and tell me I can’t just beat he I have to ask him why he not writing. When I ask, he tell how he father don’t come and see he and how want go by he father. When I call and tell the father he tell me he can’t deal with he right now.
“Now after that, every morning before he go to school me and my cousin have to promise him all kinds of things if he do he work. I would say, ‘mommy would kiss you and give you nice things. Is like you have to bribe he to do he work and when he come in the afternoon, he looking for whatever you promise. Is me and me cousin, who very close to he, would promise he.”
She then described another issue she had with the child and while she openly discussed same with me I have chosen not make it public. She did say she sought assistance from the father to deal with the issue.
“I call he and tell he and first he tell me he ain’t have no problem with looking at he for a while but he never call back. I couldn’t get he back on he phone and I call he mother phone and she was like, ‘I going out right now’ but I ask to speak to me son father. He then say how he ain’t able deal duh [when she told him of the issue] ‘you try deh with you son and he stress’.”
As she spoke I heard the pain in her voice and the frustration. Two young children, another on its way, a stressful job and fighting to get the support of her child’s father is indeed a lot on one’s plate.
“Well after he tell me duh, the same day I went and take out a liability at the court because he didn’t paying the child support and the money did bank up. And so he had to pay all the money,” she continued. The sum owed was $42,000. Maybe what she did was in anger and some may not agree with her actions but she did what she felt she had to do. It is ridiculous that women are forced to move to the courts and ask that an order be made to compel the fathers of their children to make financial contributions to their upbringing.
“After that I take he [her son] to the station for a whole week and get the inspector to talk to him because I didn’t know what else to do…” she continued.
“My cousin does help me look he after and she does carry he out for drive and so and really treat he nice, but Sunday morning early she leave the country and I does normally leave he with me next door neighbour. Sunday, I had to go to work and I lef he with two other relatives until the girl go to church and come back and then she woulda keep he for the rest of the day,” she said.
It was during that period the child went missing. He was apparently sitting eating on a bench in the yard and sometime later, he was discovered missing.
“They call me and tell me how this boy missing and right away I call he father and ask if he see this child and he tell me no. So, I come home and we start looking for this child, whole afternoon we looking and calling for he and asking people if they see he. In the night me and he brother walk all over. We went home back and I can’t sleep; as soon as day come, we back on the road looking. We look all in the cemetery looking to see if somebody do this boy something and throw he deh. We look in them trench, all over. And you know I call the father again, two times, and he say he didn’t see this child,” she related.
“Is while we looking I get a call on me phone and when I answer the woman say how she calling from Child Protection at Vreed-en-Hoop and she ask me if I is my son mother, she give his name. I say yes and I ask if they have him and she said yes he was at his paternal grandmother and they at the office with he father. I had to ask if only now I could get this call after it done deh on Facebook and I call this man and ask if he had this child.
“Anyways I travel and went over and I tell the officer I very much annoyed because they coulda tell me they had the child. They tell the officer how some aunt drop he at the market where she selling and he say how he walk and go to he grandmother for some chocolate and how he did want see he daddy but he didn’t know they woulda carry he away. The father was there and he not saying
nothing. He had he other son, who younger than me son, with he and he just pick up he son and was leaving and is the officer had to call he back.
“After listening to me, the officer told them she don’t see no reason for me son to get remove from me care and I collect me son and come home.
“I report the matter to the police and I is a police but I not happy with how the investigation went, because the police tell me that they cannot charge the father because he can’t kidnap he own son. They said if I had a court order against the father then they could charge he. But I think I will take this to the family court or something because I can’t go through that experience again.”
I spoke to her two days after her son was returned to her care and she said the man had not called to speak to her or his son since he left the Child Protection office.
I told her that she was too young to be having so many children in such rapid succession. There was no sense she was annoyed at my statement in her response.
“Well is not me fault, is the contraceptive. I use it and still get pregnant.
They offer me free abortion after I get pregnant, but I refused. The last two is for one father and he is very involved and does even go to school meeting for my big son, something he father don’t do,” she said.
But he does not live with her. I did not ask her who were the “they” that offered her the free abortion and considering her state I felt I had kept her on the phone long enough. We ended the conversation with her indicating she was going to rest.
I replaced the phone receiver feeling sad for the little nursery school boy who yearned for his father’s love and care. I felt sorry for him because even though I am sure his mother loves him she is hardly in the position to give him what he needs right now. He is crying out for the attention of both of his parents, and they both seem incapable of giving him that.