Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2015 Contents A9
June 21, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
As a gang member, Kwame
Bartholomew slept in a 12-bed-
room mansion complete with
jucuzzi. He always had money
in his pocket, wore brand-name
clothes, drove the fanciest of
cars, ate in the best restaurants,
and was a regular clubber.
Bartholomew was associated
with a gang in Morvant and
enjoyed the high life for many
Today, having severed ties
with the gang, Bartholomew, 27,
is now facing the toughest battle
of his life---raising his two sons,
five and three, single-handed-
ly.From living a luxurious and
comfortable life, Bartholomew
has fallen into poverty, hope-
lessness and despair.
On Friday, Bartholomew sent
a message to men who are cel-
ebrating Father s Day today.
He urged them not give up
on their children regardless of
trying circumstances and always
set proper examples so they can
follow the straight and narrow
"I never grew up in poverty.
I came a long way. I know what
is niceness and to have. I know
what it is like to sleep in a 12-
bedroom mansion. One of the
bedrooms had a jacuzzi,"
Today, Bartholomew said the
lavish life is no more.
He lives in a rickety one-bed-
room shack in Febeau Village,
San Juan, which has no pipe-
borne water and electricity. His
cupboards are bare and his sons
often go hungry.
Bartholomew admitted that
peer pressure drove him into the
gang when he was just 16 years
When his son Jaheim was
born in 2010, Bartholomew
decided to quit.
"As a member of the gang, I
always lived each day as if it was
my last. I was no angel. I was
a youth who was lost and mis-
guided," Bartholomew said,
pouring his heart out.
Today, he thanks God for
being alive, as 20 of 24 members
in the gang died in police
shootouts and gang warfare.
He said on several occasions
he was forced to dodge bullets.
"You know what it is to be
ready to go to a funeral and a
carload of gunmen open fire on
you? That happened to me one
Had he stayed in Morvant,
Bartholomew said his children
would have been fatherless.
Bartholomew said after giving
up the gang, life started going
First his relationship with
Jaheim s mom, Princess Jacob,
"We didn t have a stable place
to live. We stayed a while togeth-
er and then we broke up. Things
became difficult because I didn t
have a permanent job."
He could not longer support
her lifestyle, he said.
She took Jaheim and moved
on with her life, so did
In 2012, Bartholomew became
a father again with the birth of
his second son, Sadeeq.
However, three months after
giving birth, Bartholomew said
Sadeeq s mom did a disappear-
ing act, leaving him to look after
To compound matters,
Bartholomew said, Jacob became
ill and died of kidney failure last
"Jaheim had to come and live
with me after his mother passed
away. I was faced with not one
son, but two. I never expected
Bartholomew said the last
eight months had been the most
difficult, as he has been both
mother and father to his boys.
"I worked in construction and
did odd jobs in the community
to provide for the boys. Just last
week, I had nothing to give them
to eat. I got a few packs of soup
and gave them that. I try my
best not to let them starve."
Bartholomew said the only
toys the boys have are a few
"I tried to keep them occupied
by singing, dancing and picking
them up in their ABC. I feel all
alone and helpless. The children
do not know what is a family
or a mother s love. This Father s
Day I don t know how it will be
spent. Last year, the kids and I
were hungry. I didn t have a
Bartholomew said he hopes
he can overcome his burdens
and worries that seem to be nev-
"I feel God is testing my faith.
But I am not going to give up.
I will continue to fight to raise
On Wednesday, Bartholomew
said God started smiling on him,
as he landed a temporary job in
St James. He is also getting
moral support from the Single
Father s Association.
(See story on Page A16)
Even as Australia s Sports and Health Minister
Sussan Ley maintains that "corruption in any
form" has no place in sport, questions still remain
over the Football Federation Australia s (FFA)
$500,000 payment to former Fifa vice president
Jack Warner in 2010.
The money, supposedly paid to assist in upgrades
to the Marvin Lee Stadium at the Centre of Excel-
lence, has been the subject of scrutiny especially
in light of the US indictment filed against Warner
Reports out of
Australia on Friday
suggest that the
Police (AFP) are still
gating the contro-
versial payment that
has been linked to
the FFA s 2022
World Cup bid.
nalist John Kohoe,
of Australia Financial
Review, who visited
T&T last week,
reported that the
AFP is "considering
launching a formal investigation."
Ley shied away from commenting on the pay-
ment and allegations of bribery levelled against
the FFA and Warner in an emailed response through
her media adviser James Murphy to the Sunday
Guardian last week.
However, she said, "Sport is ultimately about
the participants, fans and the love of the game,
not individual interests, and corruption of any form
has no place."
She did not state if Australia is taking steps to
investigate the FFA.
Ley opted instead to comment broadly on the
US corruption investigation in which Warner, former
vice president of Fifa and eight other officials, along
with five businessmen, were charged with rack-
eteering, money laundering and bribery amounting
to more that US$150m.
"Many within world-football have long-cam-
paigned for this as an opportunity to tackle these
allegations of long-standing corruption in the game
head on and the time for action has now well and
truly arrived, regardless of who is elected the next
president of Fifa," Ley explained.
She said that the Government, along with Aus-
tralians, "trust our representatives will continue
to use their vote for positive change and reform."
The minister declined to say if Australia will
renew its bid for the 2022 World Cup.
She instead called for reform within Fifa.
Sunday Guardian contacted Scott Bolitho, media
adviser for Attorney General for Australia and Min-
ister for the Arts George Brandis, QC, seeking con-
firmation on whether a probe will be launched into
the matter and he directed all queries to Ley.
Two weeks ago, FFA chairman Frank Lowy AC
had said the Association was co-operating with
the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in relation to
the A$500,000 payment it made to former Warner
minister on Fifa:
From dodging bullets
to full-time dad
Australia's Sports and
Health Minister Sussan Ley.
Kwame Bartholomew plays with his sons Sadeek, right, and Jahiem at their home on Friday.
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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