The Court of Appeal has upheld a judge’s decision to reject an adoption application by a Bahamian man and his Jamaican wife.
Supreme Court Justice Donna Newton ruled that Milton McPhee wanted to adopt his wife’s teenage daughter so that she could become a Bahamian citizen.
In a ruling last week, the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision.
McPhee and his wife, Sheriffa, married in Jamaica in 2010 after dating for two years.
Although McPhee claimed he had acted as a father figure to the child, he didn’t apply to adopt her until October 2017, months before she celebrated her 17th birthday.
Kenny Thompson, on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General, argued that the true motive for the application was to circumvent the country’s immigration laws. He said they were “seeking citizenship through the adoption process rather than through the Immigration Department”.
By the time Newton delivered the decision in October 2019, the “child” was legally an adult.
At the hearing before Newton, McPhee said he couldn’t afford the adoption until 2017.
In her ruling, the judge noted discrepancies in the child’s date of birth and when she began living with her mother and stepfather.
Additionally, Newton pointed out inconsistencies with the relationship the child had with her biological father, who is also Jamaican.
Mrs. McPhee said her husband was “the only father the child had ever known”.
This contradicted the report that the child had lived with her biological parents in Jamaica for two years.