Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 4th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, January 4, 2014
A police inspector
charged with two
offences of neglecting
her teenage daughter
was granted $40,000
bail yesterday and
ordered to have no
contact with her child,
who has been placed in
a children s home.
However, the relatives
of Insp Carol Alexander
were unable to secure
her bail in time, result-
ing in her being
remanded to the
Women s Prison, in
Alexander, 53,who is
attached to the San Fer-
nando Municipal Police,
appeared before Deputy
Chief Magistrate Mark
Wellington in the San
Fernando First Court
shortly before 4 pm.
The charges stem
from an allegation that
Alexander locked her
out of their Embacadere
home on two occasions
on December 30 and
between December 21
She was arrested on
Thursday and charged
by Sgt Steve Persad of
the San Fernando Police
Station, under Section
(3) 1 of the Children
Coudray sat in the
court s public gallery
while the matter was
Asked by reporters
what she was doing
there, Coudray, former
CEO of the San Fernan-
There has been a "drastic increase"
over the last two weeks in the number
of people accessing the services of
Childline, a listening service for chil-
dren in trouble or danger.
Acting director of National Family
Services Antoinette, Jack-Marti, said
that began happening after a pro-
gramme was initiated using the
Telecommunications Services of T&T
directory to send text messages to
"everybody s phone." The organisaton
has been receiving between 80 and
200 calls a day since December 19.
Before that, Childline, set up in 1986,
had been receiving between 20 and
50 calls a day,
Jack-Martin said so at a press con-
ference yesterday on the 20th anniver-
sary of the International Year of the
Family at the Ministry of Gender, Youth
and Child Development at Waterfront
Tower D, Port-of-Spain.
"We have seen a drastic increase in
reports of abuse," Jack-Martin said but
she seemed somewhat at a loss as to
"I guess it s because of a breakdown
in family life. In a holistic way, it s
what s happening in the global society
today," she added.
She said a lot of the anonymous
calls were made by concerned citizens
reporting what they saw as child abuse
in a home. She said there had also
been an increase in the number of
"walk-ins" at the National Family
Child-rights activist and head of
the recently-established Child Pro-
tection Task Force, Diana Mahabir-
Wyatt, who was behind the setting up
of Childline, said of the increased calls:
"Eighty to 200 calls a day is a lot. The
phone drive has really upped the calls.
Remember Childline is open seven
days a week. It s amazing but a good
She said the drive was started around
the time the Child Protection Task
Force was appointed and had its first
She said she did not get the feeling
a lot of the December to January calls
were pranks: "Maybe 12 per cent at
She said most of the callers were
children themselves who were often
too shy or scared to talk about abuse
inflicted on them.
"They don t know how to put it in
words but there are skilful counsellors
who know how to get past that," she
She said counsellors often found
that behind the apparent prank was a
real cry for help.
Mahabir-Wyatt believes the increase
in reports of child abuse is directly
related to the text-messaging initia-
"People who did not know where
they could report abuse before know
now. It s in the schools, everywhere.
Everybody knows," she said.
Childline first asks children in trouble
if there is a trusted person they can
talk to and in extreme cases intervene
with the police.
Mahabir-Wyatt said the first report
of the task force would go to Cabinet
"We re hoping everything dealing
with the Children s Authority will be
approved by them," she said.
She said if the recommendations
were approved and the task force got
the financing it needed, Childline
would be able to refer calls to the
Childline is a free, confidential telephone
helpline and listening service for children
and young people in trouble or danger or
who simply need someone to talk to.
It offers crisis intervention, information
and referrals to social services and
Childline has formed partnerships with
Families in Action, Rape Crisis Society,
Rainbow Rescue and the community
police and several government
Access to Childline is at a toll-free
number, 800 4321.
Trouble calls to
Childline on rise
do City Corporation
and San Fernando
mayor, said she was
there in her capacity as
a concerned citizen.
Wellington read the
charges to Alexander
which alleged that she,
being in charge of her
daughter, neglected her
in a manner likely to
cause unnecessary suf-
fering to her health.
Alexander was not
called on to enter a plea,
since the charges were
Attorney Cedric Nep-
tune said she was
arrested on Monday,
released and then re-
arrested on Thursday.
Noting he was in no
way trivialising the seri-
ousness of the offence,
Neptune asked for own
bail. He said it would
be difficult for his client
to secure bail because
of the time she was
brought to court.
With 28 years serv-
ice, he said Alexander
had an unblemished
record, was a single
parent and had only one
child. He added that she
was not a flight risk.
Phillip said he had no
objection to bail but was
Alexander visiting the
child at Hope Centre,
San Fernando, where
she was now living.
said the mother was not
seeking visitation rights.
Wellington said Nep-
tune s request for own
bail was a "tall order,"
having regard to the
prevalence of such
offences against chil-
not to visit the child
while the case was
before the court, the
magistrate warned that
if she did, her bail could
Neptune also made a
formal request for dis-
closure. The matter was
adjourned to January 22.
Woman cop charged
with neglecting child
Inspector Carol Alexander of the San Fernando
Municipal Police is escorted to the San Fernando
Magistrates Court yesterday. She is charged with
neglecting her 14-year-old daughter.
PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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