Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2014 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 2, 2014
A High Court judge yesterday told
the Adoption Board to review its
decision to take away a baby from
her foster parents.
When the matter came up in the
San Fernando High Court, Justice
Frank Seepersad said the best interest
and welfare of the baby were of para-
Cindy and Donald Rakhal, foster
parents of the 16-month-old baby,
who is being referred to as Baby X,
are challenging a decision of the board
to take the child from them.
The baby has been in their care
since last March.
The board has already approved
adoptive parents for the child. But
the Carapichaima couple has been
granted an injunction preventing the
board from taking the baby away
from them until the case is decided.
Yesterday, the Rakhals attorney
Gerald Ramdeen submitted that the
evidence of a foster care officer who
had interacted with the foster couple
and the baby was necessary.
That was challenged by the board s
attorney Josefina Mohammed, who
said the Foster Care Unit and the
board were separate units each having
its own procedures and officers.
The judge noted that while the
board has a set of criteria in the adop-
tion process, its ultimate decision
must be guided by what is in the best
interest and welfare of the child.
In selecting the adoptive parents,
he said several factors, including the
development and physical level of
the child and the foster care officers
reports, had to be considered.
He said there was no evidence that
the board had considered those things
in the case of Baby X.
"The Rakhals are important in the
context that nearly a year there was
a living, breathing human being with
But Mohammed said the Rakhals
request to adopt the baby could not
be considered because the child was
not yet at the "adoptable age."
The judge noted that when the
child became of age the board iden-
tified four adoptive parents, excluding
the Rakhals, and subsequently placed
the child with one couple.
The judge told the board to set up
a panel to speak with the foster par-
ents, review all the information and
make a proper assessment about what
was in the best interest of the infant
The final voting list
for People s National
Movement s (PNM)
May 18 internal poll
has risen from 79,363
to 81,529, according to
party s elections com-
Members of Penne-
son s team are checking
to see if their estimated 3,500 supporters have gotten
on to the list. Beckles-Robinson is challenging the
incumbent political leader Dr Keith Rowley for lead-
ership of the party. Both are fielding candidates for
the other executive positions being contested.
Browne confirmed the total number of voters on
the final voting list after the it was approved by the
party s general council last night. The deadline for
the final list was April 30.
The preliminary list of 79,363 was approved by
the Council on April 14 following which some officials
claimed there were irregularities. In turn, some mem-
bers of Team Penny claimed that approximately 7,000
of 8,000 supporters did not get on to the list.
Team Penny members met with the elections com-
mission last Thursday. Then, the deadline for bona
fide members, those who became members by Feb-
ruary 28, to lodge queries was extended from last
week Friday to April 28.
Team Penny s NiLeung Hypolite said Tuesday the
group had followed the instructions of commission
members and made written representation for over
3,500 persons whose names were attached in the
He said those people had applied on-line before
the February 28 membership deadline and "for one
reason or another may not have been on the pre-
After yesterday s council meeting, Browne told
T&T Guardian the final list was now 81,529. He could
not say if Team Penny s supporters made it on to
Browne added: "What we can say is that those
persons who are bona-fide members of the party
and who followed the process would be the persons
who got through."
He could not say what transpired in the case of
Team Penny s blanket representation for its 3,500
supporters. He said that group had been informed
of the process.
Contacted last night, Team Penny s Ronald Boynes
said he was unaware of the outcome of the situation
and the council was meeting on the issue. He said
as soon as the meeting ended, the team intended to
check what occurred with the applications for its
supporters. He estimated they numbered around
4,000. Boynes said he would have an idea of the
position by today.
Voting list for PNM
polls now 81,529
Foster parents get stay over Baby X
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