A Barbadian father is complaining that he is at his wit’s end because he is being prevented from seeing his 11-year-old son, while a gay relative has unfettered access to the boy.
An aggrieved Euclan Hope said he has been dragged through the fires of hell as he fights to spend time with his son.
At the same time, he said his patience was being tested as the relative drives the boy around and gives him expensive gifts.
So desperate is the 66-year-old Hope that he has written to virtually everyone seeking intervention, including the police, the Child Care Board (CCB), Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett, without success.
Convinced that the situation is now hopeless, the father took to the streets of Bridgetown this week in a bid to attract attention to his cause, while hoping Prime Minister Freundel Stuart would notice and take action.
A placard which he carried read: “ATT [Attention] PM Stuart. Mom give gay man access to son. B’dos CCB say ‘Ok’! Dad say hell no! What say you?”
Hope said he last saw his son six weeks ago, but his troubles with the boy’s mother began in January last year when he requested to have the child on weekends to help him prepare for the Common Entrance Examination.
He said the woman, influenced by the relative, decided against it and stopped him from seeing the child.
Already frustrated by the mother, Hope said he was troubled that the relative could influence his son.
In a letter dated March 16, 2016, Hope told the relative he was “forbidden by me Euclan Hope from taking my son” to his home “or driving him around in your vehicle”.
“You are exercising too much control over my son and as a heterosexual man I strongly object to a gay man like yourself exerting the kind of influence on my child that you want to. In my eyes you are grooming him,” he wrote.
He told Barbados TODAY the relative was giving the boy “very expensive gifts and tells him that what I say about my God isn’t correct”.
Seemingly running out of options, the father turned to child rights advocate and lawyer Faith Marshall-Harris for legal representation.
All he wanted at first was to have Marshall-Harris write the relative asking him not to have any contact with the child, he said.
However, he said, she denied his request to use certain explicit statements regarding the man’s character and sexuality.
“She [Marshall-Harris] told me that I could not stop my little boy from being in the company of this gay man because he was family. I said it as an elementary answer because there are family members who are drug addicts that you don’t want you kids around, so I didn’t take that advice.”
Marshall-Harris confirmed that Hope had been her client, although she had referred him to an associate while she was out on medical leave.
However, the child rights advocate told Barbados TODAY she had tried to protect Hope from a lawsuit for defamation.
“I adjudged that his case was best suited by not expensing himself to defamatory action because he had no evidence of what he was saying and that it was only speculation. So we said that, ‘if you seeking access for your son you can accomplish it without that’,” she said.
Unhappy with her representation, the adamant father wrote to the Attorney General on June 12, 2016 and again on October 24, 2016, and after being directed to the Child Care Board he wrote to Blackett on November 14, 2016.
These attempts came to naught, and so did a final visit to the CCB, which promised to investigate the matter but had not got back to him, Hope complained.
Barbados TODAY contacted CCB Director Joan Crawford for a comment. However, Crawford said she was unfamiliar with the specifics of the case, and promised to look into it as soon as possible.