Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Dangerous precedent for govt to seize Mahmud and Ayyub; so why the silence?

Dear Editor: Dangerous precedent for govt to seize Mahmud and Ayyub; so why the silence?

“[…] I consider it a very dangerous precedent that the Government can so easily take custody of people’s children. If the argument is that the boys need some sort of specialised care that the mother cannot provide, then why won’t they still placed with her and visited by relevant personnel?”

The following Letter to the Editor on the fate of minors Mahmud and Ayyub Ferreira—who recently returned to Trinidad after life in an ISIS war zone—was submitted to Wired868 by Kevin Baldeosingh of Freeport:

Photo: Mahmud and Ayyub Ferreira were rescued from Syria, after being taken by their father to join Isis.

It is now more than two weeks since 11-year-old Mahmud Ferreira and his seven-year-old brother Ayyub were brought back to Trinidad and Tobago and placed in the custody of the State, and I am yet to hear or read one children’s activist raise any objections to the boys being taken away by the Government from their mother Felicia Perkins-Ferreira.

There are three possible reasons for this total silence: (1) the activists know something about the mother/family that I don’t; (2) the activists don’t see any problem with the State taking custody of the boys; (3) a combination of both.

My view is that the second reason is the overriding one. After all, most children’s advocates in T&T depend on the government for their salaries, and even those who don’t are always seeking funding for their pet project. Moreover, most of them do hold that the State is the better agent to take care of children when parents fall short.

I consider it a very dangerous precedent that the government can so easily take custody of people’s children. If the argument is that the boys need some sort of specialised care that the mother cannot provide, then why won’t they still placed with her and visited by relevant personnel?

(I dismiss as fake news Minister Stuart Young’s claim that the mother was unconcerned about her children.)

Photo: Felicia Perkins-Ferreira (centre) is reunited with her sons Mahmud (left) and Ayyub Ferreira.
(Copyright ABC)

Surely the separation from their mother, even if she is visiting regularly, cannot help in the boys’ treatment.

The loud silence of child advocates on this situation suggests that, when it comes to protecting children in this place, they are more a part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

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11 comments

  1. It is interesting that Baldeosingh failed to stir the emotions of the reading audience in this case as did his article … Why was intervention good for segregated South Africa but bad for Venezuela?

    It may very well have given credence to his assertion that “principle for most people depends on skin colour and ideology, rather than ethical consistency”.

  2. I am sure Mum has allies if she needs them.

  3. Ward of the State does not necessarily mean that the boys are not with their Mum. I did not read any report that indicated that the children had been taken from their Mother.

  4. Lol. I’m guessing KB is not an investigative journalist

  5. I have to say that I disagree with Kevin on this one.

    In the first place, any parent taking a child into Isis occupied territory certainly has something mentally wrong with them. It is quite possible (although I am not saying that it has happened) that the parents (in this case mother) have been radicalised/brainwashed. I for one don’t see anything wrong with the state interfering in this matter.

    Clearly, the mother has not shown herself to be an adequate parent. There is a fine balancing act between the rights of the parent and the rights of the children. I am not saying that in this case, the state has carried out that balancing act – typically that would entail a court hearing to determine – but certainly there is a strong prima facie case that the needs and rights of the children need to be protected from those who would lead them to harm.

    Any logical person would realise that harm is possible in Isis occupied territory.

    If the mother is concerned about the children, she can take legal action for custody and prove that she is a fit mother. As for the mother getting custody and having the state visit as Kevin suggested, to monitor the well-being of the children, I disagree that this is a good idea. The radicalisation of the children can still take place when there is close contact.