Three-week-old baby Imran Ali has been taken out of a dirty, dilapidated house at Philippine and is now warded at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital under the care of the Child Protection Unit.
Days after the Guardian Media highlighted the baby’s plight, there are allegations that scammers are hoodwinking Good Samaritans and profiting from the family’s plight.
Several people who reached out to the Guardian Media said a lot of the items donated to the family are now being sold by Ali’s relatives.
A medical source said the child was undernourished and will be kept at the hospital for the next few weeks until he is fully recovered. The baby’s mother Diane Ali has been staying in the hospital with him while investigations proceed.
A police source said the Child Protection Unit is expected to visit the family’s home at Hillpiece Road, Philippine to see first-hand their living conditions. They are also exploring reports from confidential sources that the baby is often taken out at Palmiste Park, scantily clad, while relatives solicit funds.
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal and the Concerned Citizens Group of Debe visited the family on Saturday to deliver boxes of diapers, wipes, a stove, a mattress and other household items but were met by the relative who did not allow them to get inside the house. The items were delivered outside. Other people who contacted the Guardian Media said they too were suspicious that help was not reaching the baby.
In a Facebook post, head of the Glimmer of Hope Foundation Zahir Ali said he was disturbed that innocent good-hearted people were being fooled.
He pleaded with citizens to make a proper assessment before rendering any help.
Ali said, “Not everything you read is true, these people are taking advantage of your goodness.” He commended the Child Protection Unit and the Children’s Authority for moving speedily to investigate the matter involving the baby.
A police officer from the Fraud Squad said anyone who is caught soliciting money under false pretences will face prosecution.
Contacted for comment yesterday, chairman of the Children’s Authority Haniff Benjamin said the matter involving the baby is under investigation.
“The philosophy of the Children’s Authority is that children thrive best with their birth family, where possible, appropriate and in the best interest of the child.
Therefore, in every circumstance, the Authority seeks to keep children with their family.
The Authority has intervened in the situation surrounding the mother and her baby.
We will continue to work with our partners in the child protection sector to ensure that both mother and child receive the necessary care,” Benjamin added.
Reporter: Radhica De Silva