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BABY DUMPED AT BIRTH

2-hour-old girl left outside orphanage on Christmas Eve

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

A NEWBORN baby girl with the umbilical cord still attached was abandoned outside the front gate of the St Mary's Children's Home in Tacarigua on Sunday night.

The baby was believed to be two hours old at the time.

According to reports, security officers assigned to the St Mary's Children's Home were alerted to the presence of the baby because of her screams.

The discovery was made around 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Ants were on the baby's body, a security guard said.

Officers of the Arouca Police Station were contacted and informed of the discovery.

The baby was found wrapped in an old jersey.

The newborn was taken to the Wendy Fitzwilliam Paediatric Hospital at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope to undergo medical tests.

Detectives are looking for the baby's mother.

Manager of the St Mary's Children's Home, Patricia Martin-Ward, yesterday described the ordeal as "sad".

Martin-Ward said the silver lining in the dark cloud however was that the mother did not "destroy" the baby.

The baby was found in the grass outside of the orphanage gate, just off the Eastern Main Road in Tacarigua.

The discovery was made a stone's throw away from the bridge of the Caura River.

The bridge is some 30 feet above the river bed.

"We are saddened but we are also happy that the child was found and we really hope that we were able to do our little bit in saving the life of the child," Martin-Ward said in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.

"We are just glad that she (the mother) did not destroy the baby, because so much hurt is already visited on children and sometimes people do not understand the system, they do not know how to use the system or they are too scared to use the system," Martin-Ward said.

Martin-Ward said the mother probably felt abandoning her child was the only available option.

"Perhaps that was the only option that was available to the person but in this Christmas season too it is very sad for us to know a baby was left outside our home," Martin-Ward said.

"If she had come to the security guard and said she was in trouble we would have been able to offer her the kind of assistance that she needed or refer her to get the kind of assistance she needed," Martin-Ward said.

Martin-Ward called on everyone to be their brother's keeper.

"If anyone is facing a difficulty like that we still have neighbours, we still have friends who are helpful and who will respond, and should anyone reach our doors and feel that they are in a desperate situation they can ask to see us, and we will respond in the manner we are well trained to do," she said.

"We are all part of this country, we are all citizens, we are parents, some of us, we are siblings and our heart really goes out to the mother who felt that she had to do something like that, and for those young persons or anyone who in the society feels they have reached that point," Martin-Ward said.

"You know our gate is open and we can offer some assistance or we can give some kind of help to the person so that I would advise that we all reach out to persons, because sometimes people are just too scared," she said.

Martin-Ward said with the creation of the Children's Authority she hoped such instances would be a thing of the past.

"More information will be going out to the public in terms of persons who may be facing difficulties. The Children's Authority coming on board is a good thing, a lot of people need information and they do not have information, and I am sure the Children's Authority will be giving a lot of information and doing social outreach and sharing that information," she said.

"I think over the years in this job we have felt very certain that people are bereft of information, and that is part of the cruelty being meted out because we do not have information, and if we can get the information to them I think people would be better able to make wiser choices," Martin-Ward said.

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