The missing years

| 18/09/2010

My father, Desmond Seales, made the decision 49 years ago, when he departed Trinidad, to abandon his family by marriage as well as his blood relatives. Subsequently, he falsely claimed to have emigrated at age 18, when in fact he did not leave Trinidad until age 22. The four year discrepancy was to conceal the existence of his first marriage with three children as evidencedby the untruthfulness communicated in his obituary.

For those who question the motive for publishing this statement, suffice it to say it is nothing but a request to correct erroneous data. Every child deserves to be acknowledged by his or her parents. I have lived the past 49 years with the stigma of not being acknowledged by our father, even though many know of our existence. Upon his death, we were not given the opportunity for closure. In reading the tributes and obituaries, insult was only added to the injurious years of pain and feelings of abandonment, with the printed “erasing” of the life he had in Trinidad.

We impart our condolences to the family he did acknowledge. Their loss of a father is also ours.

Desmond Seales: The Missing Years

Desmond Seales was born on November 3, 1938. He was one of 11 children. Some of the family followed their father into the printing business. In his late teens Desmond worked at Yuille’s Printery, where he met his first wife. They were both 19 years old when they married. She became a housewife while Desmond continued to work. They soon had three children: Sandra Karen Seales, born January 10, 1958; Rhonda Hazel Seales, born November 23, 1959; and Sharon Rachel Seales, born April 30, 1961. The family of five resided in Port-of-Spain. Desmond, by all accounts, was a very involved father and supportive, loving husband.(Left: Desmond Seales 1958)

Desmond eventually got a higher paying job at Camps’ Printery. In 1961, Sir Etienne Dupuche visited his good friend, Mr Camps. He met Desmond, was impressed with his work, and offered him a job in the Bahamas with his company. Because there was a new baby, it was decided by the young couple that Desmond should go on ahead and the rest of the family would join him in a few months. Desmond boarded a BOAC airplane at Piarco Airport on September 29, 1961, and went to Nassau, Bahamas. His wife and the three children went to stay temporarily with the Seales family.

For the first three months after he left, Desmond corresponded with his wife; then she stopped hearing from him. It is to be noted that there were letters only (which are long gone). Several months later, she received a last letter (also long lost) stating her husband had died in Miami. Some members of the family didn’t accept this … didn’t believe it … yet had no means to prove otherwise. The wife and three children he left behind later relocated to the United States. (Left: Karen Seales with her parents 1958, this picture and one above from Karen Seales’ baby book – page below)

It would take many, many years, but eventually Desmond was found. In the interim, there had been two reports of sightings of Desmond at Trinidad Carnivals in the 1970s. These turned out to be accurate. Desmond himself later confirmed that he had indeed taken those two trips back to Trinidad, and never bothered to let his family know. His mother, father, and all of his siblings (except for one sister, who had died long ago in childhood) were still alive at that time.

When Desmond was found in late 1978, he was angry about it. He demanded that no one in the Cayman Islands should know about his past, and that most of his surviving family from Trinidad should not be told that he was even still alive. He refused to explain his reasons for this or his actions.

Desmond Seales died on July 3, 2010. He is survived by his fourth wife, Suzan, and their daughter, Danielle; his daughter Nathania by his second wife; two sons, Jordan and Matthew, by his third wife. He also leaves behind three children from his first marriage in Trinidad, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and several sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, who never knew he was still alive.

Truthfulness in journalism: that will be the legacy of Desmond Seales, when this is printed.

 

 

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Comments (38)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Sandra I am glad you have exposed a common occurance, especially here in the Caribbean.  I am a product of a woman and a man’s passion, but I never knew my father.  We were acquitances and he did acknowledged that he fathered me and my brother, but he never confirmed it to his living relatives.  However, when he died I found the strength to walked down the Aisle of the Church, to confirm that he was the man I knew of, as my father.  Yes, that was him in the Casket and I did shed a tear, but his family never acknowledged me in the program.  He had money, but his children never got it, his family did, as a matter of fact, his Niece.  She knew he had children, we were always addressed in the past as cousin, but they have yet to offer a 1cent to me or the other children  They called themselves Christians I understand and they are of high stature in our community.  Do you think God has forsaken me…No….NEVER!!  I am middle class now in this society, but its all thanks to my Mother and God.  I wanted over the years just to feel his embrace, to be acknowledged, but I never received it…I am still sad about it, but I have forgiven him and I hope God does too.  It is so sad and there are many, many cases here in Cayman like ours.

  2. anonymous says:

    How sad for all concerned….I hope that healing can begin for this family. The readers should keep in mind that if this were another family’s story, Des would have not hesitated to print it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I believe that this matter is to be dealt with personally and it is not the business of the public of the country on what Mr. Seales life consisted of. He chose to live his life in Cayman and make the choices he did. He is not here with us to answer any questions and therfore I personally feel he should be made to RIP and not be discussed publicly what his personal life consisted of. For the writer you had your chance to make any attempt for closure. IF you knew where he was and he didnt accept you or whatever you should have done your very best to make ends with that. They are persons and family here in our island who are still trying to cope with the fact this man, husband, father, good friend is not here with us today. Deal with it on a personal level no one has the answers for you and you should make closure just like everyone else. You are making things alot harder hear for those who were extremely close to him including the family he has here. Life is not a game of payback its a life of choices and one day we will answer to the person who gave us life! May God continue to bless you and Mr. Seales family and allow the families to heal.

    To the family here please know that we all know that you all are better persons and that you do not need to follow in his footsteps. To his boys and other signifcant other you all are strong and there is communittee that loves and cares for you all.

    God Bless

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that Sandra Seales is expressing the pain of having been abandonment in life and relegation to obscurity in death of this man Desmond Seales.  She is not trying to hurt anyone, she is simply saying, "I exist, I am a person, I matter."  At least we should give her that.

      This does not in any way reflect, nor should it seen to be so, on any of the other family here.

      I feel your hurt, Sandra, and commend your efforts, Sandra, at resolving this deeply felt hurt.  I hope it brings some healing from all those years of emotional distress, and I hope that the rest of the family here will embrace you and your siblings. 

      My very best regards to you and your siblings.

       

  4. Anonymous says:

    This also begs the question, what or who was he running from???

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sandra you are a strong woman I am guessing you inherited that from your mother. I would have done the same thing. I am also guessing that your mother realized from his behaviour that he was not worth confronting after she did find out he was still alive and allowed him to go on with his little charade here in Cayman.  

    He disowned his mother, father, children his first wife and that is how we wanted it all his life and that is how he had it but by all means for his obituary you have a right to be mentioned. His whole family has a right to be mentioned. 

    Of course your mother has a right to be mentioned as she is his first wife. His life started there with her in Trinadad. I see where you would have to explain to people who you are because he never did and as result for that all his past is placed before him. I don’t see where there is anything to be ashamed about? I am confused as to how a man could have three children and disown them for a new life else where.  

    At least you also gave it some time after his death before printing your article and the RIGHT obituary.

    You explained carefully the motive for your statement. I dont know how people can find the motive to make a negative comment about what you did but in Cayman that is not uncommon. You are absolutly right and you and your siblings deserve to be acknowledged. By the looks of it count yourselves the lucky ones though.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone seems to have bought this at face value.  No one has even bothered to question its authenticity.  I mean, I have to confess that I believe it too.  DS didn’t talk about Trinidad.  He preferred to begin his life story in Nassau.  However, anyone could have written this – I think we shouldn’t just ‘lap it up’ like its Gospel.

      CNS: Sandra sent us documented evidence (birth certificates, etc) to support her claims, and we have also had a number of long conversations with her, which, though not proof in itself, convinced us that what she said was true. The photo of young Desmond is also undoubtedly him.

       

  6. whistling duck says:

    Oh well… it just shows you that alot of people may speak well about a man, but "never judge a book by its cover." In all of us, you will find both good and bad traits of character. Some people are just weak and ignorant of the value of family.

    Sandra, I wish you the best and hope now that you move on with your life, and focus on the good things God has bestowed upon you and your family instead of the negatives.

    Peace

     

  7. Anonymous says:

    The spectrum of child abandonment – a scourge on society.

    Sandra, thank you for sharing your story. My heart goes out to your Mother for the life struggle she must have endured in raising three children without the emotional or financial support of their father. She must be congratulated for her couragein meeting such a challenge and on doing such a fine job.

    Unfortunately, your story is a very common one in the Cayman Islands. Although many men who fathered (or should we say sired) children may not go to the lengths of faking their deaths, they do leave the mother of their children to struggle alone with the emotional and financial burden of raising their children. Indeed many of these men are successful in maintaining a veil of respectability by paying a mere pittance in child support. They manipulate their vast earning in order to satisfy the Court that they are only earning minimum wages in order to get away with only paying around $100 per week or less in child support. This apparently generally accepted behavior places extraordinary stress on mothers, many of whom crumple under this stress and are unable to cope. As a result, the children may then be passed to their grandparents who may or may not be able to lend some support. The question may be asked, where does this leave these children? Many of these children are angry at being brought into a world where they appear to be unwanted and ventilate their anger in the form of retaliatory crimes on society. Ultimately, child abandonment may be viewed as a scourge on our society that fill our prisons with young thugs which, according to criminologist reports, suffered some form of child abandonment.

    Essentially, your story is the same one along that spectrum of how fathers abandon their children. The heroine of this story is your Mother and the support structure around her which helped her to withstand the stress of being abandoned with three young children. Clearly your Mother managed to withstand the stress and was clearly successful in raising three fine human beings. Embrace her, cherish her, she has been both your mother and your father.

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand what you have written here, but on a personal story, my husband pays ci$ 170.00 weekly in maintenance, and he has four years that he has not been allowed to see his child, and does the court help him with this issue? No! He has even had a specific Judge tell him that he cant do anything about this! But make him go a week behind on payments and She drags him in court right away! He is an excellent father! The mother of this child specifically told him he would be made to pay for leaving her! He has an income of 650 ci a week and three kids under the age of 8 at home with me, but as She tell s the Judge’s " Your Honor he should not have gotten anymore kids" She only has one child, makes over 3000Ci  a month and is getting 170 plus a week! The sad part about this is that this child does not know half her sibblings! When he went to her house recently to try and see the child, her husband said to my husband, "Come in and see your daughter" she turned and looked at her husband and asked him, "You want me chop you in the head or what?" and that is what he has to deal with!

  8. Joe Average says:

    While I was reading Sandra’s Viewpoint something kept bothering me: makes you somewhat embarrassed to be a man. While I agree with most of the comments so far, and I am moved by Sandra’s story, there is a societal comment to be made here also. That is to say how often do we hear of a woman abandoning her family? Or leaving to pursue another life, or personal or business success? Not very often. And there are a few cases, but by and large it is males who opt to “leave it all behind.” There is something in the psyche of many men which allows a dis-connect between their interests and those of their spouse or partner. Desmond Seales seems to have been one of those afflicted. This also happens in the animal kingdom and when it happens in human relations it makes you wonder just how far we have advanced.

    While many will be shocked to hear of Mr. Seale’s infidelities and abandonment I would venture to guess most of the shock comes not from the activity he engaged in but how he managed to get away with it for so long and at the same time manage to hold himself up as an advocate of human rights. There are laws of course against falsifying your own death, and abandonment, but, in general, those laws have been enacted, and enforced, by male dominated societies. It is therefore up to men to make activities like Mr. Seale’s unallowable until the message sinks in to even the most obtuse. By adopting the attitudes we are now expressing after revelations like this comes to light we can change these problems in our society. First of all, by being pro-active as men, and by walking our talk.

    And educating a new generation of young mento be true men who can be counted on. Until that begins this will not be the last example of a male spouse or partner abandoning their responsibilities so frivolously.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The accolades Desmond received mean naught. How can they mean anything more? They were given for all that he did in the field of journalism and media …these forms are based on truth. How can one who seemed to have done so much for bringing the truth to the forefront, been the same one who toldlie after lie about himself and others. It’s hypocrisy.

    To those who say his personal life has nothing to do what he did for Cayman, I say it has everything to do with it. You can’t be an advocate of truth when you are so destructive to those closest to you with an artillery of lies. 

    Suffice it to say he never deserved that MBE for his "[My] Bloody Effort," and he doesn’t deserve our pity. But he does deserve forgiveness, as we all do. He is answering now for everything he has done and I say we put the rest to bed. There is no point in defending his actions, but neither is there anything to gain in tearing him down any more. 

    There are probably more skeletons in the closet, but knowing DS the way I did and now reading this, I think we’ve talked enough about him now.

    Sandra, my deepest condolences for all that you and your family have suffered. 

     

     

    • Scottish,Irish,Jamacian born CAYMANIAN says:

      Anonymous 15:34

      I join hands, elbows, sholders, feet, heart and sentiments with you. You are truly a Humane, Humble and Forgiving soul.

      May we all speak the truth, stand up for the truth and forgive those that fail in being TRUTHFUL.

    • Anonymous says:

      To Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 09/19/2010 – 15:34 I say, "Thank you" for expressing my own sentiments on this sad revelation so well.

      Sandra Iwish you and your family all the best for the future and hope that you will one day find closure and be able to forgive your father for the awful wrong that he did to you, your siblings and your mother. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ettienne Dupuche was a very prominent charismatic journalist/newspaper editor and staunch opponent of the Bay Street Boys in Nassau He also had a healthy disregard for racist whites such as the Nazi loving Duke of Windsor who was Governor of the Bahamas during WW2 and who, famously, made Dupuche present himself at the backdoor of Government House. He died in the early nineties at a great age.

     Maybe Desmond fell under his influence and hoped to emulate him and completely reinvent himself, dumping all trace of his past life in the process. I knew Desmond well and noted he had a chip on his shoulder about race and a persecution complex which grew stronger and stronger over the years in Cayman. Whatever the case, it is a very strange, sad postscript and one can only imagine the sufferring of his first family, especially his parents.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I wonder who’s running the store over at CNN? There has been zero comment n the press and the paper looks like nothingmore than a collection of press releases.

  12. Independant-to-the-bone says:

    Sandra, you should have published this when he was alive. I would have like to see his response.

    There is a saying, "You shall know them by their fruits"

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why wait till now to expose the man……and you know what let he without sin cast the first stone. Guess what none of you all that has commented about this man in a negative way can throw the first stone. so please let the man just rest in peace he is now being atoned for his his wrongs whatever they may be. It sickens me to see people in Cayman are so quick to pass negative judgment. So narrow minded and ignorant "and it doesn’t matter you personal experiences with him" COME OFF THE MAN NAME. To Sandra K. Seales There is nothing any one can say to ease what you are feeling but now is the time to heal yourself as it is out of your hands now. To all the small minded people wickedness only beseech more wickedness so keep on speaking your small minded comments karma is a itch.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow, even for Desmond this is quite shocking- then again it really isn’t. But truthfully does anyone really want to dig up the skeletons in his closet? 

    These are the types of things you must naturally expect to pop up from someone who lived as he did.  Anybody willing to turn his back on his mother, wives and children is completely devoid of truth and integrity- two things required to be a legitimate journalist.

    As much as Desmond and so many pro-Caribbean ‘thinkers’ of his ilk like to talk a good game, a superficial examination of their lives proves they are very shallow and morally bankrupt men.

    So how can we build nations and a future of any worth for our children with these types of people jockeying to lead the way?  The lesson to be learned is, talk is cheap.  Spin is even cheaper.

    You want to be a real man of power and influence, then live honourably and leave your children with a legacy of love, honesty and respect.  My deepest condolences to all who have been left in the wake of Desmond’s torrid life.

    If ever there was a character that should be struck off the ‘register of memories’ it is Desmond Seales.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow, too bad she didn’t expose him when he was still alive!  So much for the MBE bestowed upon him,it just never had much meaning after that! To abandon his wife and kids was bad enough but I felt terrible for his poor mother, never knowing that he was alive all those years and she died not knowing.  What kind of person does that??  Oh wait, we know that don’t we?

  16. Anonymous says:

    No matter what great things this man may have done later in life, to abandon your own flesh and blood like trash is the lowest of the low.  I am very sorry to hear that you had to grow up without a father Sandra – I can still see the pain 49 years later…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Desmond’s legacy to Cayman is his contribution to the development of media in these islands, and not-so-indirectly, to Cayman’s overall development in the past 40 years. That he was a pioneer and innovator is undeniable and so it shall remain. There is no need to denigrate nor elevate him; like all of us he had his demons. How he managed his own are not for any of us to judge.

    This bit of his history may be disturbing but it is certainly a family matter and our opinions of the man as a result of this ‘revelation’ will not change what he did to expose these islands to the world and vice versa. That is his legacy, indeed.

     

    • Anonymous says:

       A man’s legacy is his family.  " I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich."  ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H

    • Dred says:

      I’m sorry but no matter how you dress it up it still is repulsive to think ANYONE EVEN Desmond could do that. That is the lowest of low things to do.

      It is true he contributed to our media history but as a man he is now repulsive at best.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m reminded of the old saying, "an old leopard can’t change his spots"  

    This applies not only to the late Desmond Seales, but to all those out there who have did so much wrong in hurting so many people but yet today, in their high positions as public servants, act as if "butter can’t melt on their tounge"

    Trust me, the potential exist when one does such evil and great wrong in their past, they will stike once again like an evil serpent if given the opportunity.

    I can think of one particular individual who comes to mind who was caught up in the big scandal with Seales, who fit’s this description XXXX

    Ya day coming sa, ya day coming sa, by the hands of Almighty God !!!  

    CNS……… no names mentioned !! 

  19. Anonymous says:

    As a Trinidadian, I always wondered why Desmond was so cagey about his past. I could never understand why he seemed so loathe to talk about his years "back home". He opened up a bit about his parents and where he lived in the East Dry River area of Port-of-Spain. That was it. It always struck me odd, because he never seemed to bear any ill-will to his native land – it was just that he didn’t want to talk about it. Now, I know why. I am shocked to read this, but it certainly explains his reticence to discuss those "missing years." 

    However, Desmond has met his Maker now and will have to answer for all that he has done, as we will all have to at some point. We must forgive. Dear Sandra, I hope that in filling in the blanks for us all you have received a carthartic release.

    May DS rest in peace – finally. And may God bring peace and closure to all whose paths crossed Desmond’s.

  20. nauticalone says:

    Dear Sandra,

    May your writing the truth here bring about some degree of closure to your lifelong loss and grief.

     

  21. Anonymous says:

    Deadbeat dad of the Caribbean.

  22. Common Sense says:

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive." Sir Walter Scott  

  23. whodatis says:

    Wow.

    That was a cold move Des.

    As I always say …

    "Truth is truth."

    Man is powerless to change, hide or deny truth.

  24. Cayman Born says:

    This alone just reassures me that there is a good reason why I never bothered to go to Desmond Seales funeral.  The man lived a shadow life and this alone proves it.

    To abandon a family with 3 young children is appalling.  Make it worst to think 4 wives and all these kids?  Yes indeed REST IN PEACE Desmond Seales because many people are left alive and miserable because of you.

    • Anonymous says:

      We will all atone for our misdeeds one day.  He is doing so now.

  25. Anonymous says:

     Sandra,

    My condolences.  All I can tell you is he has the answer for this to a higher one which I know is no comfort to you.  I could never imagine going through something like this.

    All the best!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am really very saddened to read this. Sandra – you need to forgive him.

    And try to move on with your life.

    I hope and wish all the best for you and your siblings and try to be the best that you can be.

    Really sorry…

    A friend of Desmond in Cayman and really saddened to see this.

    • Anonymous says:

       Mr. Seales pretended to stand for truth.  I think Sandra exposed the hypocrisy of this.

       

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sandra

    Still… my condolences.  However, you have to let go of the past, which rewinds itself like a cassette tape in your mind…

    You have to let it go and forgive. To an extent… Ifeel this article of its kind and opening of an age-old wound, should be your last.

    He just like you has God to answer to

    Love Anonymous

    • Anonymous says:

      Think before you write please- she explicitly stated the purpose of writing the article, and that was to clear up inaccuracies in his obituary. I for one am happy she did it- this is a man that has been hailed as contributing so much to Cayman and presenting truth in journalism, yet he lived a lie. His surviving family needed to know this truth. I only wish she had exposed him while he was still alive.