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Psychologist: Children being used as pawns

By CAROL MATROO Tuesday, April 15 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Anna Maria Mora ...
Anna Maria Mora ...

CHILDREN are being used as pawns between parents when relationships go sour. They are helpless and need society as a whole to take care of them. “Red flags” have to be noted, which may not have been the case when Barry Karamath strangled his daughter and son on Sunday.

“I still think we do not believe that children should be protected. All of us in society need to look out for our children. Once a man is in court for serious offences, the children would have to be taken from that person and placed in protective care,” Counselling Psychologist Anna Maria Mora said yesterday.

She said once a parent is before the courts for a serious offence and is out on bail, they should not have unsupervised access to children. “There has to be people taking note of all these little red flags. He had a vengeance against the mother and he took it out against the children. Those children should not have been anywhere near that man,” Mora said.

Mora, a member of the Child Protection Task Force established last year by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to promote the welfare, care and protection of all children in Trinidad and Tobago, said society feels children are expendable and do not need to be taken care of.

After the children’s mother separated from Karamath, he was accustomed to spending time with them.

On Saturday was the last and fatal time he took the children, telling the mother Okilia Mayers, he was taking them for snacks.

The bodies of Karamath and his two children Keanna, two, and Omari, 11 months, were found in a bamboo patch at Mora Trace, Toco, by pumpkin farmer Luke Hamilton. Mora, however, had questions about Karamath having the children and why didn’t the farmer alert anyone when he saw two young children with a man in a river.

“I read that he was in a Tobago court for $1 million cocaine possession. I don’t know if he was still in court, I don’t know what the story is, but obviously he was very angry at her (mother). I don’t know if she was the one who alerted the police or somebody else. But the point is those were the texts he sent for her,” Mora said during an interview yesterday.

Mora said if anyone was is in court for the kind of crimes Karamath was accused of, he should not have custody of the children. “He should not even have visitation rights. I am very sorry, but he should not have had access to these children at all. Once you are in court for those kinds of things...$1 million worth of cocaine,” Mora questioned.

She said people need to look out for all children and asked why a “red flag” was not raised when Hamilton saw Karamath with two young children at the river at 9 pm. “We don’t want to blame the farmer, poor thing, but you see a man in a forest with two young children at that hour of the night and no red flag was raised in your mind?”

Mora said people did not think that children were helpless and could not defend themselves.

She said these young children, who were initially thought to have been poisoned, but autopsy reports yesterday revealed they were strangled, paid the ultimate price. She said in these circumstances it was important that a case history was known and those so important “red flags.”

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