Our Readers' Opinions
February 15, 2013

Well done, Family Court

Fri Feb 15, 2013

Editor: I read a letter on page 12 of your paper dated Friday, February 8, 2013, headlined “What is going on in the family court,” and asked myself what is really going on in SVG? Are things really so bad that people have to resort to such drivel to justify charging a few dollars. {{more}}

The name at the end of the article is Rockelle Payne. I know a Rockelle Payne, and I am sure she did not pen this article of her own volition.

After reading the article, I was so incensed, that I called the father’s telephone number in England and, bingo, the child answered. I said “Hello! is that *******?” She replied “yes, it is.” After exchanging pleasantries, we had a conversation that went as follows: I started by asking “did you really want to go back to England?” Her answer was an emphatic yes. “Are you happy there now?” “Yes! Mr P.” “Didn’t you want to remain in St. Vincent?” “No”! “And you are sure about that?” “Yes, I am sure Mr P.” “Have you spoken to your Mom since you got back”? “Yes, Mr P”. “Did you call her?” “No, she called me.” “How many times?” “Three times Mr P”. “And what did she say to you?”, “Nothing much”. “Did she let you speak to your brother?” “No! I wanted to, but she didn’t let me; she said he would cry.”

Now readers, judge for yourself. Does this sound like “an abused child who needs protection from her father? Obviously, I do know both sides of this case. I first learned about it from the father when he visited me in England in 2011, to ask for some business advice. After our business discussion, he confided in me about certain aspects of his private life, and asked whether I would bring home a plane ticket for Rockelle, in order for her to travel to England to visit the children. I obliged. When I delivered the ticket, (it was the first time I was meeting her), I asked if she had been to England before.
When she said no, I gave her as much advice as I could on do’s and don’ts when travelling to England. On my next visit to England, 2012, she gave me some local sweet snacks (fudge etc) to take to her children. Because of the business connections and advice that I have given him, I got to know the father and his family quite well over the years. I have stayed over at his house on occasions. He moved to a four-bedroomed house in order that his son and daughter could each have their own room. This man fought for and got both children UK citizenship, does two jobs in order to keep them happy and well turned out.
His live-in partner, who also has a child by him, looked after the two other children in question as if they were her own. She treats the daughter like a little sister, walks to school with her in the mornings, and goes back for her after school. Both children were doing very well academically in England. The boy was head boy at his primary school in year six, and the girl was a prefect at the same school at grade six, and is now the librarian at her new school, a very coveted position. She is particularly bright, and well loved in school. Her classmates bought her a present to welcome her back when they heard of her original plight.

ABUSE! what child abuse? In the UK? Are you kidding? I know an upstanding Vincentian lady who was jailed for smacking her unruly nephew who was living with her in England in the 1990’s. I say to you, Rockelle, count your blessings. You have a very intelligent daughter who could see the road to a better future for herself. Stop listening to the “do-gooder” who penned this for you, whether it is a doctor or a lawyer, he or she is like a crab in a barrel, or even an old colonialist, who gets to the top of the ladder and then kicks it away.
We know of many fathers who leave children here, go overseas, get married, and never send home a penny for their children. Not only did this guy send a ticket for the mother to travel to England to visit her kids, he often sent her money as well, with the full knowledge of his partner. Heaven help us. There are not many fathers who would do half of what this one has done for his children. From my observation of the father, he always showed love and warmth towards his children. Like any responsible Vincentian parent, he instilled values and maintained the appropriate discipline in his children.
Any good parent will agree that our role is to raise fine, upstanding and responsible children who would make both themselves and their parents proud, and be a credit to our country. The father fully understood the importance of the children maintaining contact with their mother. Both parents had an arrangement after the first custody hearing, that once the children were settled in England, Father would do his best to ensure that Mother saw the children at least once per year; hence the ticket in 2011 and the trip to SVG in 2012. It is not cheap to fly from the UK to SVG, (roll on Argyle international).

I challenge Searchlight Newspaper, Rockelle, or any do-gooder, politically motivated lawyer or otherwise, to find anyone in the UK who would have a bad word to say about the father, whether in his role as a father, or any other aspect of his life.


L. Providence