(NOW GRENADA) – A minor in a rural community in the parish of St John has for more than a year been made to sleep in an outside “cage-like extension” of the family home as punishment for wetting his bed at night.
“His stepfather doesn’t like him because he is wetting the bed and so he builds the cage for him to sleep in,” said a community member.
“Many children wet the bed, so I cannot understand why his mother will allow that to happen,” he added. Made from metal roofing, the extension attached to the side of the family home contained a mattress for the child to use at nights.
The minor, who is male and under 10, remained in squalid living conditions for months before the situation was drawn to the attention of the relevant authorities. An investigation was launched but not much was done to create a better environment for the family nor the child.
“The family told the police the cage extension is for family use, and with that reason, nothing else happened. However, within days, he was back again in the cage because the police seemed to forget the matter,” the community member said.
Calls to several people in the community confirmed the degraded sleeping area exists, and they expressed concern about the longterm negative impact it will have on the primary school student. “This child is treated as if he is not a human being. He is physically, emotionally and verbally abused by his mother and others,” said the community member who drew the plight of the minor to this writer.
People aware of the situation explained that the minor and his family members are both vulnerable and marginalised and need social assistance.
The minor once resided with his mother’s parents, but had to be removed because of their health conditions and inability to care for themselves properly.
“They cannot take care of themselves properly so it’s not easy for them to care for him, and he ended up by his mother who from all indications agreed for him to sleep in the cage,” the community member added. As of Friday, 29 May 2020, both the Child Protection Authority (CPA) and the police admitted to knowing about the situation and were reserved when asked to confirm that a new investigation is ongoing.