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Schoolgirl caught jolly-riding in passenger van

Schoolgirl caught jolly-riding in passenger van


The bus terminal at Little Tokyo in Kingstown was the scene of much commotion last Monday when a child was caught playing truant by her mother.{{more}}

The 13-year-old secondary school student, who was having a day of fun jolly-riding, was seated in a minibus at Little Tokyo during school hours when her mother approached her.

Heated emotions, mixed with angry words by both parties, along with physical exchanges, were all part of the mid-morning debacle, which instantly drew a large crowd at the Entrance of Little Tokyo.

The crowd of mainly women seemed not to have any sympathy for the teenager and most vented their anger at “van men”.

Embarrassed at the lashes she was receiving and being hounded by the crowd, with tears streaming down her face the student exploded with a few expletives as she told her mother to leave her alone.

The upset mother, who works as a security guard, grabbed her by the waist and took her to the Kingstown Central Police Station. She said she was advised to take her daughter to the Social Welfare, but they encouraged her to take the teenager back to school since it was a matter that the school should deal with.

In an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT Wednesday, the mother said she and an elder daughter were sitting in a restaurant in Kingstown at approximately 11:05 a.m. when they saw the teenager travelling in a minibus with her head sticking out of one of the windows.

Knowing that her daughter should have been at school at that time, the irate mother rushed to Little Tokyo Bus Terminal where she caught her daughter seated in the bus.

“I went to the van and asked the conductor if my daughter came down in the van. He replied that she was in the van but he didn’t know where she had gone. I looked in the van and she was in the second seat. I called her out and asked what she was doing in town. She said she can’t get to school and she catch the van in Calliaqua. I told her she’s lying because van was on the road. I hold her and start to beat her,” said the mother, who claimed that her daughter had spent the weekend with an elder sister.

The mother recalled warning her daughter about skipping school on a previous occasion.

“One day one of her friends told me she does be in town. When I asked her, she told me that she does not be in town and I said to her the truth will find you out, and when I get you in town you will find the truth,” said the mother, claiming that her daughter is sometimes ill, and was so sick in December 2008 that she (mother) had to be going about asking people to donate blood at the hospital for her.

The mother said since the incident her daughter has apologized to her and has promised that she would not skip school anymore.

Just last month minibus driver Rafique Samuel, 21, his conductor Kemmuel Clifton, 20, and Rekeemo Holder, 17, pleaded guilty at the Criminal Assizes to having sex with a girl under the age of 13 on February 15, 2008, at Redemption Sharpes. The trio received five year suspended sentences and were warned by Justice Gertel Thom that in the event any of them should commit another offence in the next three years, and found guilty, they will go to jail.

Last Monday’s incident also brings to light two serious health issues. Health officials here recently expressed concern with the high rate of teenage pregnancies and the pregnancies of persons who are HIV positive.

Speaking at the 13th Annual Perinatal Mortality and Morbidity Conference, on January 30th, 2009, Departmental Sister of the Maternity Ward Sister Faustina Ballantyne disclosed that although the rate had decreased from 2007, a total of 366 teenager girls became pregnant in 2008, with 286 births coming from girls in the 17-19 age group and three 13 year olds in the 10-14 age group.