One of the patrons of a women’s shelter in South Trinidad has come out in defence of the facility, saying the allegations of abuse by a matron made by a former occupant are false.
In a letter issued to Guardian Media, the patron said the young mother interviewed by Guardian Media arrived at the home pregnant and was treated with love and respect.
“As a benefactor of the home and a person who always visits the home, I can testify that at no time were any of the girls or their babies not fed or lacked anything.
“As a matter of fact, on this girl’s case the home looked after her during her pregnancy, took her to all the doctor follow-ups,” the woman said.
The girl has alleged that a matron at the home abused her and her baby and refused to give her milk for the child for two days, forcing her to feed the child lime bud tea. The mater is now being investigated by the Port-of-Spain Archdiocese.
Saying the girl did not have the support of her family nor the father of her child, however, the benefactor said, “No one was around at the time of the birth of her baby. I personally visited her at the hospital and gave her new clothes for her baby. At the time I felt very sad for her to see all the other mothers at the hospital had visitors and this child didn’t have anyone to congratulate her.”
She confirmed that an aunt had sent some money for the girl but alleged it was not used for its intended purpose.
“She never bought any milk for the baby. If the child was going through starvation that should have been her priority. Many times she was very disrespectful and rude,” the woman said, adding it was by choice that the girl fed her baby lime bud tea.
The patron said she believed the girl could not stay at her family’s home because of her behaviour. She said giving airplay to someone who was telling untruths was unfair to the home.
“This would not help her to correct her ways and become a good mother and a mature and respectful young lady, this is a very disgusting act by a minor who has gotten so much help,” she said.
She also said she was disappointed that the media did not contact the home. However, Guardian Media did contact the home prior to publication and even sent an email to the manager requesting an interview. This email was never answered.
Father Robert Christo, Vicar of Communication of the Port-of-Spain Archdiocese, which is in charge of the home, responded to Guardian Media’s questions on behalf of the home and advised that the matter was being taken seriously and being investigated.
Interviews were also done with a former worker and other people associated with the home, who corroborated the girl’s claims of alleged victimisation and abuse.
The Children’s Authority has started an investigation and is expected to make a comment today.