Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 13th 2013 Contents SASCHA WILSON
The mother of a 15-year-old
boy who claimed he was an
orphan and had to beg and steal
to survive showed up in court
yesterday, but was not allowed
to take him home.
After learning of the child s
predicament through newspaper
reports, the Children s Authority
appointed attorney Renuka Ram-
bajhan, who was also in court, to
The teenager pleaded guilty over
two weeks ago to stealing a cell-
phone but was remanded into cus-
tody to the Youth Training Centre
(YTC) because he had no family
support and no proper address.
He initially told the court both
his parents were dead.
When San Fernando magistrate
Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds learned
his mother was alive and living
somewhere in Pleasantville, she
sent the police to find her.
Despite not having seen each
other in a year, mother and son
showed no emotion when they
saw each other yesterday.
But while the magistrate was
admonishing her about not doing
enough to help her son, the mother
began to cry.
The magistrate told her she
needed to toughen up, take
responsibility for the position her
son was in and set an example for
her children. "Life does not allow
you to escape," she added.
The court had heard on a pre-
vious occasion that the boy was
often seen begging near Gulf City
and did not attend school.
The mother and his 19-year-
old sister, who was also in court,
said they were not aware he was
However, the mother said when
her son was eight months old his
She said her daughter s father
was not helping her so she used
to "look for help" to care for them.
But when she got a job with the
Unemployment Relief Programme,
The mother said her son last
lived with her and his aunt in La
However, she said, he was not
listening to her, was following bad
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Magistrate to mom of 15-year-old:
You dropped the ball
company and was "breaking biche."
He stopped school in Standard Two,
When she got notice to move a year
ago, the mother said her son went to
live with her brother in Dow Village.
But "some months now" he ran
away and went back to La Romaine,
she said. She made a report but she
said the police could not find him.
She is now in a common-law rela-
tionship, has a six-year-old child and
is living in Pleasantville.
As a mother, the magistrate told her,
it was her responsibility to ensure that
he attended school.
She added: "There are other things
you could have done. You dropped the
"Children aren t born bad. They have
the potential to get very bad. The adults
are responsible for them, to scope,
guide, mould, sculp. You are the ones
who mould their morals," the magistrate
However, she said the teenager and
society also have to shoulder some
Rambajhan said although the Chil-
dren s Authority was not properly con-
stituted, it would do all it could to help
and would put together a package of
social services available to the family.
Glad to have the authority s help,
the magistrate said they had to fix the
wrong, "Otherwise it will grow worse.
The logical conclusion is he will be
Rambajhan said where the mother
was living was cramped for space but
she was willing to take him home with
She said the boy s uncle also was
willing to have the teenager stay by
However, the magistrate said she
did not want to release him into any-
one s care until an assessment was
done by a probation officer. Then, she
said, she would decide whether he
would be spending Christmas at a
home or in YTC.
The teenager was remanded in cus-
tody and the matter was adjourned to
The CCC Choir sings at the TTDF Carols by Candlelight Service at the Waterfront, Port-of-Spain, on
Tuesday. PHOTO ANDRE ALEXANDER
CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT
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