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Georgetown teen on new path after rocky start

Georgetown teen on new path after rocky start


The name Garth “Cocoa Tea” Baptiste’ has once again made headlines.

However, this time, it’s for all the right reasons.

Sixteen months ago, the 16-year-old O’Brien’s Valley resident had already racked up more than three run-ins with the law — {{more}}most of them for stealing bicycles.

He had also done jail time.

On February 10, 2014, when Garth last appeared before magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on a charge of, you guessed it — stealing a bicycle, he was bonded, and afterwards, presented with a bicycle of his own through the instrumentality of magistrate Burnett.

At that time, the soft-spoken, shy lad who admitted that he stole bicycles because he couldn’t afford one promised to change his ways and walk the straight and narrow.

“I know I do wrong, but I does feel ah kinda way when dem trouble me. Dem calling me ‘biker’ all thing and me na name so. I done with them things. I realise that them things does send you to jail for stupidness,” Garth stated on March 31, last year.

Fast forward to today.

Garth, now 17, has been making good on his promise. He has not been charged with any offences nor has he gone before any court of law.

When SEARCHLIGHT caught up with him via telephone on Wednesday, Garth first asked, “Ah you the person who talk to me last year?”

After exchanging pleasantries, Garth reiterated what he told us more than a year ago, “I done with stealing bicycles. I stop making dem trouble dey.”

Unfortunately, Garth can now attest to the truth of the old adage — “what goes around, comes around.” He said his beloved bicycle which was donated by Trevor ‘Sailor’ Bailey of Sailor’s Cycle Centre, was stolen sometime ago.

“Me feel bad that it happen. But way you go do? I can’t do nothing about it now,” he said.

Garth, the third of nine children, who said he was expelled from the Georgetown Secondary School, because he “followed bad company,” indicated that he has now turned to fishing for a livelihood.

“I does go fishing everyday. Sometimes me and some friends does go. Sometimes is me alone. When I done, I does come back and sell them,” Garth told SEARCHLIGHT.

Last year, the young man had expressed an interest in becoming a professional bicycle rider and a mechanic, but those dreams have been shelved for the time being, since he no longer has a bike.

Despite this setback, Garth still remains positive that his dreams will be realized one day.

The young man expressed thanks to magistrate Burnett and assistant superintendent of police (ASP) Anthony Humphrey for all their help and described them as a “good persons.”

Meanwhile, ASP Humphrey of the Georgetown Police Station told SEARCHLIGHT that while Garth has made tremendous progress he’s still not fully reformed.

“His name has been calling up with other things, but if I say that he has remained the same from since last year, I would be telling a lie. I have been seeing an improvement in him.

“I am trying to steer him in the right direction. You could only show people the direction, but you can’t really force them,” Humphrey stated.

He said he’s not been hearing as many reports involving Garth as he had in the past and for those received, when they investigate, most of the time, the accusations are false.

“If somebody is known to be doing something, if anything happens, they will call that person’s name even though it’s not that person. So that is basically what we are having now.”

Humphrey said he sees himself as a mentor to Garth and noted that the young man made improvements by “leaps and bounds.”

“Sometimes he would come and say that he has nothing to eat and I will give him money or I will bring clothing for him. I look out for him any way I can. But I can tell you for sure that he has been staying out of trouble,” he added.

Humphrey promised that once he is around, he will continue to look out for Garth’s best interest.

SEARCHLIGHT wishes Garth all the best.