Stuck abroad - Woman wants help to get son out of Spain

April 15, 2021
Clothes hang to dry on the balcony of a hotel room in the Holiday Club Puerto Calma hotel in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, Spain.
Clothes hang to dry on the balcony of a hotel room in the Holiday Club Puerto Calma hotel in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, Spain.

A 25-year-old Jamaican woman who is in a custody battle for her four-year-old son in one of Spain's islands, says she is unable to properly plead her cause because of the language barrier.

The woman said that she and her son migrated to Spain in 2019 to settle with her husband, the child's father, as he promised that both would have a better life in Tenerife. However, two months after their arrival there, the couple's relationship collapsed.

She said that she has been 'living in hell', and is being abused by her husband, who she met at a party in eastern Jamaica, and wishes to return home. However, she is adamant that she will not be leaving her son behind.

"My husband took all of my son's documents, like his Jamaican passport, and hid them. I don't want to leave without my son, and no one here seem to be understanding my side of the story because I speak English and they don't," she told THE STAR. "Even after the abuse, we went to court and I had proof on a video where he was abusing me, and they looked on it and said they don't understand what is happening in the video."

The woman said that being an English speaker in Tenerife, with no family members or friends, makes it even more difficult for her to cope.

"I have all of my family in Jamaica. I have no one here, but I need support. I just need someone who understands to listen to me and try and help me to make things straight," she cried. "My family in Jamaica is wondering how they can help, but I am so far away, and they have no money."

Woman's support group

The woman has been living in a house rented by a woman's support group since her husband turned her out of his house. She told THE STAR that she relies on savings to get by daily, as revenues she once earned doing housekeeping and hairdressing have dried up due to the ravages of COVID-19.

The woman said that it is clear that he has no intentions of coming back to Jamaica, and for that reason she does not want to take the chance of leaving without her child.

"I can't leave without my son and from what I'm understanding from our last court visit, the prosecutor was in favour of my husband to take custody. I will only be allowed to see him four times per month, but the judge still don't make a decision yet," she said.

Contacted for comment, Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry said the woman should attempt to get assistance from the Jamaican foreign services in Madrid, Spain.

"She could reach out to our high commission to see how best they can assist her. When anyone leaves Jamaica, they ought to properly register with the nearest high commission just in case of anything," Henry said.

"An attorney is also needed to protect her interest and help her navigate through the court proceedings, because we don't have any extraterritorial jurisdiction to protect her in Spain," she added.

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