THE Hague Abduction Convention treaty partnership between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America took effect yesterday, affording left-behind parents the “full remedies of the Hague Convention to resolve child abduction cases”, a release Wednesday from the US Embassy in Trinidad stated.
One of the benefits of the treaty is that it provides an expeditious method to return a child wrongfully taken from one member nation to another by a parent or guardian, the release stated, adding that as a consequence of decades of close ties and geographical proximity, many citizens of the US and T&T have roots in both countries.
Many children have dual nationality, and parents of differing nationalities.
“At times, children also bear the brunt of the stress of separation or divorce,” the embassy said.
“Split between two parents and two cultures, they may even be taken by one parent to a country they have never previously known, and without the permission of the other parent.
“By both countries becoming contracting partners under the Hague Convention, requests can be made for assistance from the authority to expedite the necessary process through the courts to ensure the speedy return of the child wrongfully removed to or from the US or Trinidad and Tobago.”
In preparation for the partnership, discussions were held between Megan Maclean, country desk officer assigned to T&T from the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues, with Kandice Rampersad, head of the Civil Child Abduction Authority (of T&T) on maintaining a working relationship in the partnership.
That meeting took place in Port of Spain on July 22, 2013.
The release stated that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is of the view that “such a partnership with the US will improve Trinidad and Tobago’s diplomatic relations and highlights both countries’ commitment to child protection”.
In May 2013 the US declared its acceptance of T&T’s accession to the convention, which is a multilateral treaty developed in 1980 by the Hague Conference on private international law.
Trinidad and Tobago became a party to the Hague Convention on September 1, 2000.
Under the convention, the US recognises 68 countries as partners whilst T&T recognises 47 countries.
Prior to accepting another country’s accession to the convention, the US Central Authority (USCA) undertakes a review of the country to determine whether the necessary legal and institutional mechanisms are in place to implement the principles of the convention in that country.
“In this regard, Trinidad and Tobago, through the Civil Child Abduction Authority, under the Ministry of the Attorney General, provided the necessary feedback to the USCA by answering several questionnaires that were submitted by the US government,” the US Embassy stated.
“These questionnaires formed part of the USCA’s assessment process of Trinidad and Tobago.
In receiving feedback from the USCA on the answers provided, no ‘red-flags’ or grave concerns were raised by the USCA.”
On March 23 2012, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the US State Department’s special adviser on Children’s Issues, met with Ramlogan and Rampersad, to discuss the countries’ goals and commitments toward resolving matters of parental abduction, in the framework of the Hague Convention.
“That meeting signalled the intention of the US to further solidify its relationship with Trinidad and Tobago on this matter,” the embassy said.
Once the Hague Convention enters into force between the US and T&T as contracting states, left-behind parents will benefit from the additional force of this international convention on parental abduction through the Civil Child Abduction Authority under the Ministry of the Attorney General.