General / Weekend News

Family Court rules child must return to live with father in Guatemala

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

A mother and her two year-old daughter must part ways, at least for the time being, until a Guatemalan court decides who the child will grow up with. On Friday, Family Court Magistrate Dale Cayetano ruled that the child was illegally taken from Guatemala and brought to Belize, hence, she must be returned to her father in Guatemala.

The ruling marked the end of a three-month-long court battle. Friday’s proceedings lasted for eight hours and caused the blockage of Bishop Street which houses the Family Court in anticipation of reports of a planned protest by the baby’s maternal relatives.

AnaLisa Gutierrez, the baby’s mother, told the media after the ruling that despite her attorney’s valiant efforts, the court ruled against them.

“At the end, it was the judge who needed to use his discretion and he believed that the removal was wrongful and so as a result, made the decision to have her returned. …I’ve spoken to Nina’s father (Ernesto Barrera) and we are trying to do things now on good grounds for the best thing (interest) for Nina.”

Following the ruling, baby Nina was taken from foster, where she had been for almost two months, and was handed over to the Guatemalan embassy to be placed in the custody of Guatemala’s social services until the case for parental rights is concluded in that country.

Gutierrez has claimed that she left Barrera’s family because she endured abuse while living with them.

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