Par­ents at odds, while a lit­tle boy yearns for at­ten­tion

Stabroek News Sunday - - WEEKEND MAGAZINE -

“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.

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