Log In

Reset Password

‘We don’t dwell on negative stuff. We look to the future’

As his former girlfriend faces abduction charges in the US, thankful father Giovanni Burrows said his son is happy to be back home. The 14-year-old, returned to the Island a month ago and enrolled in school, has spent “two thirds of his life running” but is enjoying the settled life, Mr Burrows said. “No more life on the run, and no more being told you’ve got to run because your dad’s coming,” he added. His estranged partner, Kim Sakena Swan, fled the Island with their son in 2003, in spite of the 2001 court ruling granting Mr Burrows full custody of the boy. With his son now a month into year S1 in one of the Island’s public schools, Mr Burrows requested

The Royal Gazette leave him unnamed for this article. “He’s enjoying things now. We’re settling, he’s in school, having a normal life.” Although he was a child when his mother took him from the island, the younger Burrows is adjusting back to familiar settings, his father said. “He’s still going through a memory and recognition thing. I drive him past certain things, just to see if he can remembers them. Then there are all the things that have changed over that time, things he can’t remember.” Mr Burrows described their reunion now as “a restart, for our bonding”. “The bond was lost when he was taken. Not lost, but with no physical connection. No phone calls, no nothing.” After running up close to half a million dollars’ debt, the senior Burrows has found condo accommodation in which his son has his own bedroom. He added: “But it’s for sale, and any time it could be sold. Then what? I’m homeless. I’m not looking for anybody to give a house to me; I just need some help. “Just this week I saw that the condos on South Shore are going to have 100 percent financing, but how’s that going to cost? How does it work? “That’s the challenge I face, educating my son and putting a permanent roof over his head. Other than that, I’m happy.” After years of constant moving around the US, his son is “starved for academics, because he has not been schooled”. “His mom was a schoolteacher, so she was able to home school him.” An examination by a Government-appointed counsellor deemed his son fit for school, and he was quickly enrolled last month. “He had no proof of being educated, no medical documents, so I had to do everything from scratch to get him in,” Mr Burrows said. With his son determined to attend college, the elder Burrows reflected that the money spent over the last decade could have financed a Harvard education. But resources have been consumed in the quest to get his son back. A Marine and Ports worker, Mr Burrows had to work extra to balance his bills: “DJing, electrical wiring, cutting hair as long as I could get money legally, that’s what I did,” he said. “It kept me away from my family here, because every time there was a family function, I had to work.” As for his former girlfriend’s case in a Jacksonville, Florida court, where she is charged with interference with child custody as well as parental abduction, Mr Burrows said: “That’s outside my realm. I don’t care. The way I see it, you made your own bed for ten years, now you’ve got to lie on it.” He said he and his son, who turns 15 in July, do not discuss the case. “We don’t dwell on negative stuff. We look to the future.” However, he added: “If I blast you on the news for ten years and you never reply to it or defend yourself, that speaks for itself. You can’t defend wrong.” In the meantime, with a large and supportive family in Bermuda, Mr Burrows said: “My son’s been around to see them since he came back. “I have a lot of siblings so he has a lot of uncles, aunts and cousins to come home to. My siblings have stuck by me like glue, to help me weather this and keep my head up high.” He said they have no intention of moving elsewhere. “This is home,” he said. “We are not going anywhere. I will not allow anybody to make us uncomfortable in our own country.”

Marine and Ports worker Giovanni Burrows reflects on his decade-long fight to find his son and return him to Bermuda. His former girlfriend, Kim Sakena Swan, a Bermudian, has been charged with ?interference with child custody? and ?parental abduction? in Jacksonville, Florida.