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‘Careless’ Vincentian charged in Barbados

‘Careless’ Vincentian charged in Barbados


Tue, Nov 29. 2011

Careless in applying for status and careless in taking care of her child.{{more}}

That was how Barbadian Magistrate Graveney Bannister described a Vincentian woman who is living illegally in Barbados.

The teenage mother nipped out to fast food restaurant Chefette, leaving her three-year-old toddler unattended in a bedroom, in a house that was also home to eight other people.

The magistrate was speaking to 19-year-old Vincentian Valcina Veronica Pompey, who was before him in a Barbados Magistrate’s Court last week Thursday.

Pompey, who was staying at Strathclyde, St. Michael, had just pleaded guilty to the charge that being a person who had care of a three-year-old on November 23, she left him unattended for an unreasonable amount of time.

It was more than five hours after the boy, who was wandering along Strathclyde Road, had been picked up by police and housed at the Nightengale Home, that the woman realized her child was missing and made a report to police.

“If she is so reckless as to leave her child unattended at 11 o’clock, so he could walk on a busy street like Strathclyde in a vest and a pamper, why should I give her bail?” the magistrate asked, as attorney Arthur Holder, who had walked into court during the matter and later appeared amicus, begged for bail for the woman.

“And you can’t leave a child – a three-year-old – in a house with eight or nine other people. What if someone had interfered with him?” he asked.

“I left home at ten and I didn’t want to wake him. I say if he get up, he would just go next door,” Pompey explained.

“And did you tell the neighbours you were nipping out to get something to eat?” Magistrate Bannister asked. “No, sir,” the mother conceded.

“I didn’t expect my son would leave home.”

She said when she returned and did not see him, she thought he had walked into one of the other rooms in the “rooming house”.

“But when I heard he wasn’t home, it kinda frightened me ’cause I ain’t know how he get out. The main gate was locked.”

“Is this the first time you’ve left him unattended?” the magistrate further asked.

“No, sir,” Pompey said, which prompted the response “I don’t believe that” from the magistrate.

And after learning that the teenager had been deported previously and was back in the island illegally, the magistrate added: “She is careless in applying for her status and she is even careless with her child.”

He then pointed to the legislation which provided for a fine of $1,000, imprisonment for a year or both.

But Holder begged the court to be lenient.

“It was an error in judgement. I don’t think it was wilful. It was reckless but it wasn’t wilful,” the attorney stressed.

Holder further begged the court not to imprison the teenaged mother and to discount the fine by 50 per cent.

“I understand extenuating circumstances, so I will even offer to pay the fine,” the lawyer said.

Magistrate Bannister stressed that the offence was so serious, he was of the opinion the sentence should deter other people from doing the same thing.

“I am not going to impose sentence yet,” said Magistrate Bannister as he remanded Pompey to Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds until December 19.

He also ordered that officials from the Immigration Department and Child Care Board be present at that time.

Prosecutor Sergeant Rudy Pilgrim, who outlined the facts, said it was around 10:50 p.m. when police got a call that a child, wearing only a vest and a diaper, was walking along Strathclyde Road.

Police went there, rescued the child, took him to the station before transporting him to the Nightengale Children’s Home.

It was sometime after five, the following morning, that Pompey arrived at the station to report her son missing.

She was held and investigations were carried out.

The woman later told police she had left the child alone to go to Chefette and that she had closed the door, but had not locked it. The child is still a ward at the home.

In addition, Station Sergeant Irvin Kellman revealed that the woman’s status was in question, with reports that she had been deported previously and had since returned. (Weekend Nation)