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Errant parents face charges


"That is my children. I make them, I push them out my belly and I entitled to beat them."

Those were the shocking words of a Penal mother, accused of beating, abandoning and neglecting her four children—aged one, two, four and six.

The 21-year-old mother made the startling declaration to police officers yesterday, after they responded to a report that she had beaten the children with a length of PVC pipe.

Police are now moving to lay a charge of negligence against the woman, as well as the children's father.

They are preparing a file on the matter, to be sent to the senior superintendent of the South- Western Division.

The story of neglect of the children was published exclusively in the Guardian's Save The Children series on Thursday.

Eric Marcano, who lives next to the family, said he came home at around 9 am yesterday and heard the woman beating the four-year-old girl.

The children live with their father.

Their mother, who separated from their father about a year ago and who lives two miles away, often visits them at their home.

"We are fed up of seeing these children beaten. Since the Guardian published the story, she is beating the children more—just to spite us," Marcano alleged.

He said: "The children are always untidy and unkempt and we want to see that they have a good life."

After the alleged beating, the police arrived. The mother then came down the hill, dressed in a pair of short pants and sporting gold-coloured braids. The almost naked children were seen peeping out of the house.

Marcano told the officers that the children were often left in the one-room shack, unsupervised.

He said they roamed the village, begging for food.

The six-year-old is often whipped if he fails to keep an eye on his younger siblings, he says.

The woman told the officers that they could not take the children away from her.

"They are my children. What people telling you are lies. But I could beat them. I make them," the woman is reported to have told the police.

The officers said they informed her that it was an offence to leave the children unsupervised.

She admitted that she no longer lived with the children as she had separated from their father.

"I don't live in that house with them. I have no comment to make to the police. If I had somewhere stable to put them, I would have stayed with them," she added.

In an interview, the father said he was prepared to quit his job and stay at home with the young children left hungry, saying: "It always have food in the house...I don't know what people talking about."

If charged, the couple would have to appear before a magistrate in the Siparia court.

Investigations are continuing.

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