Living in the tough inner-city community of Olympic Gardens and being unemployed, 40-year-old Kennett Taylor could have chosen to go down the path of illegal activities to survive, but his love for his two daughters and a desire to be there for them has kept him on a straight and narrow path.
Not even the well-practised stealing of electricity would Taylor try, although for many residents of his inner-city community that is a way of life.
“Right now mi no have no light and a two candle mi burn a night and two destroyers. Light deh yah and man a thief it, but [if] mi deh yah now and nothing nah gwan fi mi and police run in and catch mi, who a guh responsible fi di youth dem?” reasoned Taylor.
“As a father, if you was a bad man, you suppose to can change, and if you was a good man, be a better man when you become a father. Things you used to do when you were not a father, you do them no more if you love your kids,” declared Taylor.
Taylor said he and the mother of his children, who are six and nine, were together for 12 years, during which time he spoke to her and tried to plan a life together. But three years ago he decided he could no longer deal with her lifestyle, which included partying nightly with different men and gambling, so they split.
According to Taylor, the children’s mother comes around “when her mind tells her”. This is something which disappoints him, as he believes having borne the pain to give birth to them she should seek to be more involved in their lives.
But it appears Taylor has been doing a good job on his own, as six-year-old Soulsa answered “yes” to a series of questions which included, does she like living with daddy and if she misses her mother, but when asked if she would leave her father to go live with her mother she quickly responded “no”.
But not having a steady job, Taylor said it has been very challenging providing for his children the way he would like, but he is determined to see them educated, something he was not afforded.
“Every day them go school, because mi try mi best. Mi give them the right money, like $290, and if mi have $100 mi just write a letter send go out a di school and di teacher dem appreciate it and give them lunch, because them know mi as I go PTA meetings,” said Taylor.
Taylor, with the tears threatening to spill over, said his kids are brilliant and he loves them.
This brilliance was demonstrated by the six-year-old who, after spelling her full name for our news team, reeled off the spelling of her sister’s.
Taylor said he speaks to his daughters constantly, reminding them of things like coming home as soon as school is over and not lingering on the road with friends. As Taylor spoke to The Sunday Gleaner, the six-year-old could be heard in the background saying “I listen to yu, Daddy”.
He said he was disowned by his father growing up, which made him determined to be a father to his children.
“A mi alone, so mi wash, cook, clean, iron and everything,” Taylor shared. “The only thing mi nuh do a plait dem hair, because mi caan really plait the hair, so every two weeks mi pay somebody $500 fi do it,” Taylor revealed.