Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2014 Contents B5
May 11, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
After serving time in prison for the
possession of firearms and attempted
murder, a San Juan woman has a mes-
sage for the youths: Listen to your
parents and stay away from bad com-
Her message for parents: Love and
support your children.
Brienne (who did not want her real
name published) said she felt compelled
to speak out after viewing a video of a
mother beating her daughter with a belt
over her inappropriate conduct on Face-
book. The video went viral.
Brienne said hanging out with the
wrong crowd led to her involvement in
crime, and the young girl in the video
could end up like her or worse if there
was no intervention.
Now 21 years old, Brienne said she
entered prison as a very troubled 19-
year-old, and left Golden Grove
Women's Prison a reformed woman.
She said she worked hard to turn her
life around while in prison and has now
started the next chapter of her life.
Brienne said, "The girl is lucky to
have a mother who cares for her. If she
continues with her wild ways
unchecked, bringing home a baby is
the least of her worries...
"She could get Aids, end up in prison
"If not, her past will always come
back to haunt her.
"I can't even use my real name
because I got fired from my last job (at
a company selling cars) because they
found out about my record, and I don't
want to lose this job I have now in sales."
'More talk than licks'
"The cut-tail the mother put on her
child was just a slight to moderate cut-
tail. To me, her intentions were good,
she had all rights, and she talked more
than she beat her."
She said the message that the mother
was trying to get across to her daughter
Brienne spoke to the Sunday Guardian
so that youths who are tempted to go
on the wrong track can heed her warn-
ing and pull back, and parents can show
more love and pay more attention to
Love your kids the right
way and they won't stray
She said she grew up with her mother,
father, brother and sister but felt like
the neglected child and the bad apple
in the family.
Brienne said it was all about loving
your children the right way and they
will never go astray. Show them respect
so they will learn to give it in return,
She said parents should set bound-
aries so that children will know where
Brienne said parents must ensure
their children do not fear them, but
love and respect them instead. "That
way they can have an open relationship
and confide in them so that they will
always know what is going on in their
She said parents must show their
children love. "If they are not excited
to see them and spend time with them,
somebody else will and can influence
Children may turn to the
streets if home is not safe
Brienne said the home was supposed
to be the children's safe haven and their
comfort zone; if it turns into a prison,
they will find space and freedom on
the streets in all different manners and
they will be exposed to all sorts of dan-
She said troubled teenagers needed
to start group counselling with a mentor
who passed through what they were
experiencing; one who is young and
able to relate to them.
She said such a mentor could make
them listen, help them to trust and see
that the road they were heading on was
narrow, lonely and dark. "They will turn
their life around once they are getting
help," she said confidently.
Brutal prison life
Brienne implored rebellious teenagers
and children to obey their parents, keep
good company, have positive role mod-
els, stay in school and complete their
education---because prison life was bru-
tal.She said she was given bread and
water as punishment for five months
out of her six-and-a-half-months sen-
tence. She was kept in the attic, where
condemned prisoners were kept in lock-
up (an area not meant for remand pris-
Brienne described the attic as cells
with hardly any lights, where con-
demned and punished prisoners were
kept away from the rest of the prison
population and are not seen or heard.
Having gone through all of this and
determined to keep on the right track,
Brienne wants more positive experiences
Helen Bartlett in the course of beating her 12-year-old daughter with a belt for posting sexually-explicit
photos of herself on Facebook. Taken from an April Facebook posting which went viral.
"The girl is lucky to have a
mother who cares for her. If she
continues with her wild ways
unchecked, bringing home a
baby is the least of her worries...
She could get Aids, end up in
prison or dead.
If not, her past will always come
back to haunt her.
I can't even use my real name
because I got fired from my last
job (at a company selling cars)
because they found out about
my record, and I don't want to
lose this job I have now in sales."
---BRIENNE FROM SAN JUAN
'Love, support your children'
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