Ceci est la retranscription d’un entretien en anglais de Wesley, un sans-papiers et père en lutte pour la garde de son enfant, paru dans le numéro 39 du mensuel Entre Dos Mundos et réalisé en novembre 2013 par Delphine Luchetta à l’Espace Solidaire Pâquis à Genève :
I don’t fit the standards
Since its opening in 2008, Espace Solidaire Pâquis has been providing multiple free-of-charge legal advisory services to immi-grants in critical situation. Jamaica-born Wesley is one of them for he is said to be unfit to parent his son because he is undocumented and unemployed. We met him in the Temple des Pâquis on a November morning, half an hour before his first appointment with a lawyer assistant and while he was spending his waiting time in the library. Here is his story.
Entre Dos Mundos – Can you introduce yourself before we start?
Wesley – My name is Wesley, but I’m otherwise known as David. I am from Jamaica.
Entre Dos Mundos – For how long have you been staying Switzerland?
Wesley – It’s been eight years. I was living in the U.K. before that.
Entre Dos Mundos – What do you think about Switzerland?
Wesley – Switzerland is a great place, you know, but it’s a little bit too tight for peo-ple who don’t know or fit the system. It can be over the top to survive day by day. My story is like this. I’ve been living here for eight years trying to maintain the odd of the day each day.
Entre Dos Mundos – What happened then?
Wesley – This July, the British authority hand my son to me. He was living in the U.K. with his mother. So I take him here and bring him to school each day but for some reason, maybe my image, I don’t fit the type of person who should have a kid. They just come and take away mychild from me. I only see him nine days later. They have set so many marks for me to obtain my son… I feel alien-like. As far as I can understand, if I don’t reach benchmark, chances are I’ll never see my son before he is an adult. This is horrible for him because he will found himself alone and sick.
Entre Dos Mundos – What do you mean by « sick »?
Wesley – He has allergies to pollen and to certain kind of food. He can’t eat every-thing. He also has psoriasis, red plaques all over his body. The problem is that he needs medication and treat-ment. He gets special cream on prescription from the doctor. I put him this cream treatment. If I don’t see him any-more, who is going to give it to him? I don’t really trust the people in foster care…
Entre Dos Mundos – Divorce and separation can be extremely tough on kids, especially when they are young. How old is your son?
Wesley – He is 11 years old even though he doesn’t look his age, you know. Let me show you something, I have a video on my phone… (Wesley hands me his cell phone so that I can see in full-screen mode the video he just loaded. It shows a little boy, looking indeed quite young, while singing and rapping to the camera in the kitchen. The sound is crackling. I don’t understand the lyrics but get the overall message of hope.)
Entre Dos Mundos – Do you fear you might lose custody?
Wesley – Yes. I already had my child taken away from me. Standards are so high in Switzerland and I can’t fit them. I have to provide things that I can’t afford.
Entre Dos Mundos – You have an appointment here with a counsellor. What do you expect from this meeting?
Wesley – I will do my best to keep my child. I know I don’t fit the standards, I don’t have money, I don’t have a regular job, my image isn’t right. I have little chances but I will take it as far as I can go. I wouldn’t mind giving my child to foster care, you know, if that was the best solution for him and if I was sure he was treated good and being taken care of with his medication. He needs me. I am doing this interview for your journal so that people can know my story and maybe do something and help. I really hope so. Can we do a picture with my hat and the Jamaican flag on?¶