Left: Lisa Robert, left, and her son Oral, seven months ago when he took her off the street, contrasted with what she looks like today.

Orol Jahmaul Roberts had always known that the shabby-looking, tall, slim woman standing at various areas of Kingstown, begging passers-by for money is his mother.

But, he had been living with his aunt and her husband for most of his life, having moved about several times before arriving in their custody.

And seven months ago, as a 23-year-old married man, when he felt that he was in a position to rescue his mother from the streets, Orol made his move.

He took his 45-year-old mother in to live with him and his wife and since then, her life has been transformed.

Lisa has gained a significant amount of weight, and she might not be easily recognised as the person who spent years on the street begging.

Orol told iWitness News that his mother is getting professional mental health attention, saying that while she does not say so specifically, it is widely believed that she suffered much sexual abuse during her time living on the streets.

Lisa is longing to get in touch with her daughter, Lianna Parsons, who is believed to be living in Canada with her father, Leon Parsons — Lisa’s ex-husband, who hails from Vermont.

Orol said his sister should be between 16 and 17.

Orol told iWitness News that he had been living for a long time with his aunt and her husband.

The last time he remembers living with his mother, he was around 7 years old and she was married to her ex-husband.

“And everything after that just went downhill.”

He said that while people say that his stepfather was abusive, he can only remember “small instances when he wasn’t treating me the best, as a stepson” when he was around 6 years old.

Orol said that as a teenager and young adult, he would stop and talk to his mother when he met her begging on the streets, “letting her know that things going be different, give me some time.

“People would commend me and say that’s a good thing; you are not feeling ashamed of her.”

Orol is not sure why his mother took to the street to beg.

“I believe it’s because she was used and abused and you can say she didn’t have her daughter or her son to be with and I just think she doesn’t really share what she goes through, she just holds everything inside…”

He said that he and his wife were renting an apartment and they had a discussion saying that now that he is working they would work on getting her off the street.

“I wanted her to be in an okay place,” he said, adding that, suspecting that the adjustment would have been hard for her, he invited her to come and spend “a time with me or a day with me”.

He said he went to Kingstown and pick up his mother from under the Cobblestone Inn gallery.

He was living at Diamond at the time.

“Same time I carried her home, my wife started to wash out the clothes and started to clean her up and she took a bath and everything and it was just recovery from there.”

He said that in between that time she was like “kept on complaining about her dog, I want my dog and if the dogs could come out here”.

Orol said his mom used to have two dogs following her around Kingstown.

During the years that Lisa was begging in Kingstown, she lived in Montrose.

“But it wasn’t the safest, too, as well,” Orol said, adding that the house used to be burglarised a lot.

“And then you know what happened next,” Orol said, adding that that really pushed him to get his mother off the street.

“I heard people saying it but hearing her saying it is not safe and she had to stand up on the road at night, she feels safer being next to Handle Bar [the biker bar in Bentinck Square].

“She would be further up at the hospital side by the corner standing, standing up with her hand folded. She would rather come up at night to stand there, to be there, rather than be home at nights because people probably used to break in and abuse her at nights.”

Lisa Roberts in an undated family photo.

He said that his mother never told him that she used to be sexually abused.

“But when she said it wasn’t safe, I asked her, ‘What do you mean?’ and she just smiled and looked away,” Orol said, adding that other residents of the area said that his mother used to be abused.

Orol told iWitness News it is overwhelming the feeling of knowing his mother is no longer on the street.

“No one would want to see their mother in that position. And knowing that you brought her from that position, it’s like — I don’t know; I don’t know. I am just thanking God every day.

“I am not looking for anything for me because she just deserves better than that because all these years just being abused and somebody like that.  Somebody so kind like that, to just being tortured like that. That’s really unfair.”

Orol said he and his mother would like to work on finding his sister.

“Even if we can’t meet at the moment, at least some sort of communication; hear her, a video call or something of the sort to just know that she is okay and that she could see her daughter again.

“That would be very overwhelming for her. I know that.”

He would like persons with information about his sister, Lianna Parsons’ whereabouts to contact him via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Oral.j.roberts) or telephone 1784-526-1052 or 1784-433-5025.

Join the Conversation

33 Comments

  1. Very touching heart wrenching story. There are so many persons on the streets begging its difficult to know who’s genuine or not. Congratulations young man, wishing you all the best.

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  2. Geraldine Simon says:

    I pray that you mother ie safe know and she will get the help that is needed, and God will give you the strength to continue to play your part and bless you

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  3. Alwayn leacock says:

    Beautiful story I’ve given this last money before never knew her story you deserve a medal life will be rough coping with mental health you will need a lot of patience. There is o replacement for a mother

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  4. Wow just wow…. I am so happy that this young man made such a loving and brave step to help his mother. A remarkable and touching story. Keep doing your best to keep her safe and happy.

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  5. Caribbean reader says:

    Very touching the lord bless you young man. I dint know you but am so very proud if you and your wife. You have big hearts. The lord bless you son.

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  6. Wow that’s an amazing move you’ve made young man, coming from a mother,I just hope everything works out for y’all and lianna gets intouch and feels the way you are feeling right now.

    May God bless you always..

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  7. Young man you done what the Lord commands. Honor your mother! I’m so happy that you did the right & honourable thing, may God continue to bless you & your family, your wife is a keeper, I pray you find your sister. Blessings

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  8. B Sc. Sociology with a minor in International Relations says:

    I praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the help given to Lisa. This story brought tears to my eyes, because there are many other Lisas’ out there, who are continuously abused and exploited by men in SVG. It is such a nasty culture in SVG. Lisa’s situation is clearly a manifestation of how the system failed her. The picture shows how normal she was before men started to exploit her. Vincentians spend all of their energies justifying the politicians actions because of the hand outs given to them by politicians and turning a blind eye to the social ills that has become an epidemic! our women are not the only ones who are being sexually exploited, but our young kids and teenage girls are being exploited as well! Where are the lawyers and our human Rights advocates!!!! Its no wonder our society has become dysfunctional…sexual exploitation of our women and young girls lead to so many other consequences….mental and emotional abuse, depression, schizophrenia, neurotic behaviors, irrational behaviors and erratic choices. After the men are finished with abusing and exploiting our women, then they are left on the way side to become ostracized and demonized. These behaviors are then passed on to our children, creating a society of dysfunction and destruction. Social Cohesion and meaningful productivity is unattainable, if half of our human resources are unwell! Our leaders need to get their priorities right!

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  9. B Sc. Sociology with a minor in International Relations says:

    These actions, are weapons used by our men, to destroy our women and children. I would never forget the YUGGE Farrel case! Another example of how sexual exploitation is so blatant in our country and how our men are awarded in the end. There is no Justice for our Lisa’s and Yugge’s out there!!! If right thinking individuals speak up, then you are sure to be muzzled by losing your job or being write off as crazy!

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  10. God is about to bless this young man that there will not be enough room to contain it. She’s off the streets, glory to God she’s alive. Takes a lot of resilience to do what you did, it’s your mother, nevertheless, God is an awesome, turn around, many chances God.

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  11. Rawlston Pompey says:

    WEALTH OF A SON’S LOVE

    This reported act of kindness speaks not only to gratitude, but also to the ‘…Wealth of a Son’s Love’ for his mother who seemingly, was victimized and overwhelmed by personal circumstances.

    Clearly was born long after the Mighty Sparrow’s social commentary, and perhaps never listened to the lyrical content of the song ‘…Mother [1965: You Tube]. This is worth a listening.

    He proudly gave her the respect and love that all mothers should get.

    She , no doubt, would share with him, not only of the pain endured in bringing him safely here, but also her own personal struggles with the daily challenges encountered from whence she came.

    Well done son.

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  12. Kenneth Greene says:

    God bless you Orol! You have done very well , I’m touched by the story, and I commend you on such move. You couldn’t of done better . Congratulations bro. Blessings

    Nuff love
    K. Greene

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  13. Wow! I live abroad and just happened across this story. Literally left me in tears. No one chooses to do the difficult and humiliating things that this lady had to endure. But circumstances sometimes force one into difficult situations. In a world too often surrounded by greed and materialistic things, this is truly a REMARKABLE thing this amazing young man has done. Kudos to his wife too! That is real matrimonial support. It would be the best Christmas for all if she somehow reunites with her daughter. God bless this young man and his dear Mom.

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  14. MR and Mrs Roberts this move was not by flesh and blood. But the will of the true and living God in the mighty name of Jesus chirst. Your wife is a woman blessed from her head to her feet. And you a son to have. I can’t find words to congratulate the two of you for being so obedient to the will of God. May God continue to be with you all.

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  15. Blaqcaribbean says:

    This is the most powerful and uplifting story that I’ve read in news. God bless your heart. Mental health is real and there maybe struggling days, but hang on.

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  16. The holy spirit has spoken through you Orol;There are those whose hearts have hardened and will not be able to change from their wicked immoral ways anymore for God’s investigative judgement is upon them. For they have exhausted countless opportunities to do God’s will.

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  17. The situation in Kingstown and elsewhere in SVG really saddens me. There are so many people barely able to exist. It is not just those begging on the streets but there are very many that have no job but have a family and either stay with a relative or have only temporary shelter based on someone giving them a charity roof over ther head. I have to imagine that many are in such a situation because of thier own bad choices. This story demonstrates that is often not the case. Those of us that do have jobs and can sustain ourselves cannot give enough to help everyone and constantly giving can take away the incentive for them to help themselves.
    If I were the leader of this country I would not rest until I were able to create an environment of opportunity where everyone that tries can take care of themselves without seeking charity. Taxes and Customs Duties that support businesses would have to be very low so that entrepreneurs would be able to make profits as well as keeping prices low and EXPORT PRODUCTS so they can expand and hire more people. Instead we have a financial environment that does not allow us to create and compete in the Global Marketplace, resulting in mass unemployment. Anything produced in SVG is far too expensive because the taxes (especially Customs Duties on machines and raw materials) make it impossible to produce at globally competitive prices, so we do not export. When will our government wake up?

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  18. Cleton Burnett says:

    God Bless you Son. This is very touching. God has put you where you are for such a time as this. to reconcile with you mom. Prayers are with you both

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  19. Allison Sutherland says:

    Son I’m so proud of you. Be there for your mom and your wife. Love them like there’s no tomorrow. We give God thanks for His mercies endures forever. I’m praying that you will be reconnected with your sister soon. Bless you all.

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  20. Dahlia Thomas says:

    You have a good heart and the Lord will continue to bless you. If all young men and women could be like you and your wife the world would be a better place. Your mom is blessed to have such a good caring son and a wonderful daughter-in-law, continue to take good care of her and the Lord will continue to bless you two. I pray the good Lord would supply your every need and the needs of your mother in Jesus name, God bless.

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  21. Blessings to you and your wife for doing the right thing. Please be patient with your mom’s progress and keep Christ at the centre of your marriage. All the best. Comforting news article.

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  22. This poor woman endured 15 years on the street. She has other relatives and exfriends yet no one came forward prior to her son to help her. It is they who need exposing, it is them that should suffer the consequences of their failures and inactions. The majority of Vincentians are nasty and like nasty, thank God that there are a few who do not have the streak of evil that the majority have.

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  23. Zinita Deroche says:

    Orol you are a hero and your wife is a blessing, never let her go. This story touch and moved me. Praise God for what you did for your mom and am happy she is safe. I believe your sister will be united and i believe you are bless for all your days, you have done a good thing in the sight of God.

    Reply

  24. Bertram A John says:

    It took great compassion to find this story. Thank you for that, Kenton. Thank you for this excellent work. This son’s love for his mother is a story for a Nation. It teaches so much…for those who would just learn.

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  25. There is so much sadness in SVG! I most certainly would not recognise this poor woman now from her previous gaunt look and now new disposition. On the few instances when I had cause to give her some small change, I was not at all too happy with it, but did so because I felt obliged to do so purely out of polite courtesy to one begging on the street.

    However, I must now take this welcome opportunity to express my most profound and sincere apology to her, for having ignored her on several occasions while in town and when passing her on the street and her loitering under those arches, whereupon she would look to be most embarrassed about her having to beg.

    On those occasions when I had ignored her, I did so because I did not wish to encourage her in the art and habit of begging. So once again, my most sincere apology to her and am glad to know that she has been found and rescued by her son. May the Lord Bless and keep her, may he shine his countenance upon her and do her good from now on!

    Reply

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