(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – “I love you daddy.”
These were the words Makisha Thomas, 8, repeatedly told her father Michael Maynard even when he beat her mercilessly, according to Celestine Oliver who said her niece could have been alive today if her desperate calls for help were taken seriously.
Oliver said she called the police dozens of times as well as Makisha’s mother—Maysonia Thomas—on countless occasions—begging them to rescue the child from her abusive father.
Oliver yesterday related to the Express the horrifying story of how her brother Michael Maynard beat Makisha frequently and even locked her and her brother Makessi, 10, in a room without food.
Oliver said relatives could not physically do anything to remove the children as her brother would turn violent and everyone was fearful of him and they were told repeatedly by authorities that legally, only the mother and father have a “say”.
“I still can’t get over this. I still cannot believe it. She (Makisha) was a real nice happy jolly child, when she see you she will run and hug you up. Even when he hit her she would say “sorry daddy, sorry daddy” and “I love you daddy”. Even though he used to hit her she used to tell him she love him and say sorry, but she never did anything to be sorry for,” Oliver said in a telephone interview with the Express. Maynard beat Makisha to death last Saturday. Maynard then took his own life . Makisha’s autopsy is still pending.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) yesterday confirmed that Oliver had made a report of child neglect against Maynard on April 6 and they visited the home and left as the children were physically fine.
Oliver, who lives in Claxton Bay shared what happened when she went to Kelly Village.
“April 6 was my cousin’s son birthday and we were going to take all the children out for the day and the children (Makisha and Makessi) were at home with my grandmother. When I reach that morning everybody was getting ready and when I ask for “Mama” (Makisha) and Makessi I was told that they were locked in the room and they are not allowed to go. I said well everybody leaving who staying with them? They said nobody. I said they eat for the morning, they said no. They said if they give them anything to eat and the children eat the father will beat them. I said this cannot be real,” said Oliver.
“So I went to the backyard and I called Child Protective Unit in Brasso for the district and I spoke to Atkinson and Huggins. We leave to go because the bus had come to pick us up. On our way I keep calling and eventually they went to the house. By the time they reach to the house he (Maynard) would have reached home, they spoke to him and he told them he don’t want his children mingling with the other children in the yard,” she said.
Tears of pain
Oliver said when she called back the officer she was told that the children look okay.
“They said the children looked physically okay and the father said he don’t want his children mingling with the others in the yard and that is why he kept them inside. My thing was they were locked in a room, my 85-year-old grandmother was at home but they were locked in there,” she said.
Oliver said she called the police last year when Maynard first hit Makisha.
“There was a time before that, that was the very first time he hit her, I called and they came and the police officers told me that because they did not walk with a female officer they cannot take the little girl with them but they saw the marks on her back. They (officers) spoke to him and told him to leave the children by their mother that night and just as the police drive off he take his children and went up the road,” she said.
She said she repeatedly called and the officers would come but nothing further was done in terms of removing the children from that environment.
“It had many other instances where I called Miss Hutchinson and Huggins and they keep telling me the mother have to come,” she said.
Oliver said she repeatedly tried to get Maysonia to get her children as the officers kept telling her that the mother must be present.
“We had already told her we would see about the children, we just wanted to get them away from Michael. But they did nothing up to this day. The last call I made to Sonia was in November. That night I was going to a parang and late in the night my brother Mason come and tell me he went to check them children and as he reach in the track Makessi hug him up and was crying. He (Mason) started crying because he said Makessi make him cry because he said Michael was beating Mama (Makisha) and he cannot take that. Well I did not go anywhere again because that was the end of my night,” she said.
She said the next day she called Maysonia again and pleaded with her to come.
“I called the Sonia and said please come nah, they say Michael beating Mama. I told her any time I call the police they say the mother have to come. I told her just come and sign the paper and we could get the children away from him,” she said.
She said after April last year Maynard took his children and moved to a small wooden home in Boysie Trace, Kelly Village after cursing relatives for getting involved and calling the police repeatedly.
“I could not do anything more because every time I call they said I am only the aunt and he is the father. He was the father but he was abusing the children non stop. One time we called the police again and they told us to call the mother and they will escort her since she was afraid of him. We waited in Caroni station for that woman probably till midnight, the police was willing to go with her and she never turned up. It’s not one time I reach out to Sonia,” she said.
The Express contacted Maysonia Thomas last night who denied calls were made to her to come save her daughter.
“They never call me, when I call the grandmother (Sandra Maynard) she said everything good. …they have to make themselves look good, the fact is my daughter done die at the hand of their son and their brother,” she said.
She added that she is going to get back her son Makessi in her care as she looks after her other children. She said she is the mother of now six—the children ages range from—15, 14, 13, 10, 5 and a baby who is 15 months old.