The grandparents of a 12-year old girl, who is due to give birth to a baby in a few weeks time, are upset that the man who is reportedly responsible for her pregnancy may get off scot free.
The child had reported that her stepfather had impregnated her, but although the man was reportedly detained and questioned, he was released without being charged.
The girl has since been placed in the care of the Child Care and Protection Agency.
Speaking with this newspaper via telephone from the Rupununi, the child’s grandfather Desmus Andrew said that he is convinced that her stepfather is the father of her unborn baby.
Andrew, who hails from the village of Caponarib, said that the child was born in neighbouring Brazil and had been in his care ever since she was a baby.
He stated that she had developed some mental complications and has been receiving treatment for most of her life.
Andrew is convinced that the child became pregnant early this year when she went to spend time with her mother and stepfather in the city.
“This thing had to happen in Georgetown during the time she spent four months there from January.”
Andrew told this newspaper that during that period the child’s mother had returned to the Rupununi for a funeral, leaving her with the stepfather.
According to Andrew, when the child’s mother returned to the city, she noticed that the child had some marks (hickey) on her neck and when she enquired, the child told her that her stepfather was responsible for them.
He said that the child’s mother kept that incident quiet.
However when the child returned to the Rupununi, Andrew’s wife, observed her slightly bloated stomach and decided to question her.
“My wife check her and found out that she pregnant and the child told her that is she stepfather do it,” the grandfather stated.
He said that they immediately reported the matter to the police at Lethem.
“On the 7th May, we told the police at Lethem, Detective Alfred, but nothing happen,” Andrew told this newspaper.
But when this newspaper contacted Divisional Commander Courtney Ramsey, he informed that he was unaware of the matter since it was not reported.
He added that he was only made aware of it when he read about it in the newspapers.
The child’s grandfather said that she remained in their care as her pregnancy developed and she was told that she would be due to give birth by October 15.
He said that on October 12 the child complained of feeling slight abdominal pains and since they did not want any complications, he and his wife decided to travel from their remote village with the child and take her to the Lethem hospital.
But because of her age, medical personnel there took the precaution of sending her to the city where the matter was given the attention it deserved.
“We want the Child Care and Protection Agency to know about her condition,” said her grandfather, who added that he is worried that the person who is responsible might evade justice.
“He boasts that he has police friends and he might not be charged,” Andrew stated.
According to reports, the child’s stepfather had also previously impregnated the child’s older sister.
He reportedly admitted that he is HIV positive and had infected the child’s mother. However, HIV tests conducted on the pregnant child returned a negative result.
A source close to the child’s family told Kaieteur News that her mother is defending her reputed husband, claiming that her daughter is mentally challenged.
The latest incident came to light days after a 15-year-old Amerindian girl gave birth to a full term baby at the Lethem Hospital. The man who was responsible for impregnating her was released by police two Fridays ago on $50,000 bail after spending three days in custody.
In January this year, an Amerindian Chief from Region One was remanded to prison after he was charged with two counts of rape committed on his daughter who is just 10-years-old.
The man was arrested after medical officials in Region One realised that the 10-year-old was four months pregnant. She had gone to a community health centre complaining of feeling ill.
Because of the child’s age, medical officials had to abort that pregnancy.
Also, earlier this year police in the North West District were hunting a man who impregnated an 11 year old girl, who had been living with him with the knowledge of her parents.
While the incidents are cause for concern, it is not too surprising, given the rate of teenage pregnancies in Guyana.
“The State of World Population 2013,” produced by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), lists Guyana among the six countries of the Caribbean with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy.
The UN report called on Governments to help girls achieve their full potential through education and adequate health services.
“Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin.
“The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control,” he added. “It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”
It also points out that a country’s economy is also affected by teenage pregnancies as adolescent mothers are prevented from entering the workforce.
The report noted that out of the 7.3 million births, two million are to girls who are 14 years old or younger, many of whom suffer “grave long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy.”
The report says that an estimated 70,000 adolescents in developing countries die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The report seeks to offer a new perspective on teenage pregnancy, looking not only at girls’ behaviour as a cause of early pregnancy but also at the actions of their families, communities and Governments.
Local authorities have indicated that incidents of teenage pregnancy in Guyana are most prevalent in the interior region, especially in the Rupununi.
The situation has led to calls from residents of Lethem for the establishment of a child protection office with more than one officer in that community.
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