An absentee father today publicly apologised to his 20-year-old son for “not being there” for him.
Andrew Maynard’s admission of his failure as a father, his apology and promise to do better, were made to Jahzeel Akeem Ward from the Supreme Court No. 2, as the young man listened via Zoom from his location at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodd where he is on remand awaiting sentencing for gun possession.
“Jahzeel, I am very sorry for not being there as a father should when you was a young boy coming up. Things were not always good with me financially and I should have been there more intellectually and socially for you. So, Jahzeel, I am very sorry. I want to apologise to you for that,” Maynard said.
Ward, of No. 22 Apes Hill, Orange Hill, St James pleaded guilty in October last year to having the illegal weapon in his possession on January 26, 2019 while at Endeavour Main Road in his community. He is to be sentenced on June 29.
Ward said the homemade pipe gun, which was found in the seat of his pants, was there because “these men won’t stop coming round” him. Under questioning, he told police he got the firearm from another man from his area.
His father offered the apology in the court, presided over by Justice Randall Worrell, after Ward’s attorney-at-law Arthur Holder and the prosecutor Crown Counsel Rudolph Burnett made submissions on sentencing.
In his address to the court, Holder said his client, who was raised in a dysfunctional family environment, was a victim of “profound neglect, abuse and abandonment”.
Ward’s mother, the lawyer said, admitted that her son was raised in an unstable environment and his father refused to provide continued financial assistance and, as a consequence, she had to rely on moral and financial support from other sources.
Ward’s father offered his apology after the court heard what the attorney had to say, while the young man’s mother, who appeared to be crying, sat quietly nearby.
“You called me yesterday to wish me a Happy Father’s Day and . . . tears was coming down my eyes [knowing] the hardship you had to endure for the last almost two years,” Maynard said.
“I am sorry that you are in this position that you find yourself in. I understand the reason why you feared for your life and you had the weapon, don’t mind it didn’t have no bullets to harm anyone. I understand you just had it to probably scare off the person, not intend to harm anyone in that aspect.
“So, I am sorry, Jahzeel, for not being there as a dad should be coming up through all of your life,” he added.
The apologetic father then sought to assure Justice Worrell and the prosecutor, that he would do what was necessary to help his son.
“Your honour, the prosecution, I would stand by my son. I had the same problems as a young man coming up, but I turned my life around. I am now a qualified nurse . . . . I now drive taxi in the Barbados Port Authority taking tourists all over my island as an ambassador, and I am now in a better position to help my son in his circumstances,” he said.
“Jahzeel has suffered tremendously in his life and I am asking the court to not further divide but unite as a community. All lives matter and let us try to unite and instead of imposing a custodial sentence where Jahzeel will be away from his family, let him come home and let us work with him as a community.
“I am here with his mum this morning and Jahzeel, we are going to be there for you . . . We have made arrangements that we can help you,” Maynard added.
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