The father of the pre-teen boy from Station Hill, St Peter who was reported missing on Sunday has admitted that he often let his children down, blaming the lack of a steady job and inadequate housing for his fractured relationship with his offspring.
The man, who asked Barbados TODAY to refer to him only by his first name, Antonio, also admitted to deliberately deceiving the children when he promises to meet and spend time with them.
Eleven-year-old Tarel Taronta Adams ran away from home for the second time in three days on Sunday in what his mother, Kimberly Adams, said was a desperate search for his dad with whom he craved a relationship.
Adams said the boy was walking from Speightstown all the way to St Michael to try to find his father, who he had not seen since January and who had repeatedly broken his promises to spend time with his son.
In an interview this morning with Barbados TODAY at an Eagle Hall, St Michael location, Antonio, who is also the father of a 13-year-old daughter with Adams, said he knew he was wrong for not being fully involved in the children’s lives.
However, the father of three with a fourth on the way, explained that the children could not live with him at this time because he was not allowed to have them at the place he currently rents.
He said he did not have a stable job, and the money he earned from shoe repairs was only sufficient to keep a roof over his head and not enough to support the children.
Antonio also admitted that he purposefully lies to his offspring when he promises to pick them up to spend time with them, something he said he does with a heavy heart because he did not like telling them no.
“I does can’t tell them no. I does tell them a story to build up dem confidence. But deep inside my heart that does be hurting me when I doing that with them because I know them can’t come where I is.
“I would love all of my kids and that is the gospel truth. But money and a roof to put all of them together is where the problem is. If I had a proper job that I could go and rent a nice house, sure my children would be with me,” he said.
The boy’s father said he was aware that he needed to pull up his socks and carry out his fatherly duties.
When asked if he planned to reach out to his son, Antonio said he would sit and talk with Tarel as soon as possible.
“For sure, I need to. Sometimes when I go down by Tarel school in Eagle Hall he would give me a big hug and got me feel guilty sometimes too,” he said.
In an interview with Barbados Today yesterday morning, the boy’s mother Kimberly Adams said all her son wanted was a relationship with his dad. She said the father’s absence had had a profound effect on the boy’s behaviour at school and at church.
However, Antonio said today he felt there was more to the story, hinting that Tarel’s behaviour suggested that all was not well at home. He said whenever he spoke to the children they expressed their desire to live with him.
“So I believe the problem coming from in the house where the children is and that is why that little boy running and dodging. He want to tell me things but I ain’t getting a chance to see he so he could tell me one-on-one.
“I know there is more to it than what she saying. He was living with she [Adams] a good while and he didn’t doing this. At ten years old you can’t be fed up, you ain’t no big man,” the father said.
“Tarel is running and he needs to see me,” he added.
Antonio said the last time he had a special bond with Tarel was in 2014 when he lived in Speightstown and the boy would visit him often. But he said the relationship became strained after he moved to St Michael.
“It difficult. People could only assume and say I is a bad father but only the Lord knows,” he said.
Antonio and Adams ended their relationship before Tarel was born.