|I HAVE 2 BABIES |
By AZARD ALI Tuesday, March 18 2014
AT age 13, she already had two children.
When she was eight, she had to jump through a window to save her life as the house she lived in burned down.
A 17-year-old girl told a magistrate the harrowing story of her young life yesterday when she appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to exposing her naked body on Carnival Monday, March 3.
The girl first appeared on Carnival Monday before another magistrate but had pleaded not guilty to obscenely exposing herself during J’ouvert celebrations in San Fernando. The girl was remanded into custody and returned to court yesterday when she stood before Magistrate Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds. Scars were visible on her hands.
Ramsumair-Hinds re-read the charge and the girl changed her plea to guilty. The magistrate heard from court police prosecutor, Sgt Channardath Jhilmit, that at the judging point in front of the National Academy for Performing Arts on Rienzi/Kirton Highway next to Skinner Park, San Fernando the girl was among J’ouvert revelers. There were several onlookers.
Ramsumair Hinds heard the girl lifted her T-shirt to her bra. She was not wearing any underwear. The prosecutor reported that when confronted by a police officer about her act, the girl said, “So officer, I cyah expose meh goods? Is Carnival.”
Before speaking to her about the charge, Ramsumair-Hinds began to question the girl about the scars. The girl’s mother, standing beside her, began sobbing.
The magistrate remarked firmly to the mother, “Madam, I want to tell you something. Listen to me, I don’t want any tears now. I want to encourage you to help your daughter.” Ramsumair-Hinds asked the girl about the scars on her hands, and the girl said she was badly burnt in a fire which razed the family house. At the time she lived with her mother and father. The girl said, “Maam, our home burn down and I jump through a window.”
“How old were you at the time?” the magistrate asked. The girl said, “I think I was just seven or eight years old.”
Ramsumair-Hinds probed further, asking the girl about her life as a teenager and if she had a mother and father to care for her, in another home, after the fire. But the girl replied she had two children when she was 12 years old.
At that point, the mother tried to intervene and complained her daughter was unruly, stole things, and often left the house without reason. Seemingly not inclined to entertain the mother at that point, Ramsumair-Hinds commented the girl’s traumatic life had its roots. Addressing the mother, the magistrate reiterated, “I don’t want you to fall apart here. I want to encourage you to help your daughter to be a mother. She already had two children between 12 and 13.”
But the mother pressed on, telling Ramsumair-Hinds the girl’s father had put the girl out of the house they had moved into after the fire. The father, the mother added, is known to be a drug pusher.
Asked where were her children, the girl said she did not know, but the mother intervened and said both children live with their father.
Ramsumair-Hinds then instructed prosecutor Jhilmit to make enquiries about the children’s whereabouts, and also requested that the girl’s mother bring to the court on Thursday, a copy of her daughter’s birth certificate. The girl said she would be 18 in August. “I need the police to make enquiries. She had two children between 12 and 13. We will encourage her to be a mother. I hope that by the time some assistance is given to you, you will be willing to go back home and live with your mother,” Ramsumair-Hinds said.
Scolding the girl for referring to her body as “goods”, Ramsumair-Hinds advised she must regard her body as very expensive commodity. She said, “What value do you put on yourself? There is a huge value on what you call your ‘goods’. It must be a very expensive commodity.” The magistrate remanded the girl to the women’s prison in Golden Grove, Arouca and ordered she be brought back on Thursday. Before she was taken away by a police officer, the girl told the magistrate that she must visit the Couva District Health Facility to collect her medication. She then leaned over and kissed her mother, before police officers escorted her out the courtroom.