IT MATTERS TO MARIA: I never signed it!
CHERWIN TAYLOR wants nothing more than to have his name cleared.
Since 2011 he has been back and forth with the police and the National Insurance Department trying to get a benefits dispute resolved but now he feels as if the tables have been turned on him.
For the past five years, the 63-year-old has been trying to find out how his former wife was able to get his disability benefits while he was in prison from 2008 to 2010.
Taylor first publicised his plight in the NATION two years ago. Now he has brought it to public attention again because the NIS has produced an authorisation form bearing his signature and police handwriting experts have determined that he signed the document approving the benefits to be paid to his former wife.
“I want to know how I can be in prison and go to the NIS and sign a document authorising my ex-wife to collect my money,” he said.
Taylor was behind bars from November 2008 to September 2010, having been convicted of arson, and the change of payee form for the benefits was purportedly signed by him on May 20, 2009.
Furthermore, Taylor said he and his former wife were divorced in 2007 and were not on speaking terms.
“It is not my handwriting; somebody copied my signature,” he insisted. “We divorced so how I gine do that there and we were not on speaking terms. I couldn’t have done it because I was incarcerated. I never sent her a visit while I was in prison.”
“So as far as I know she get 24 cheques,” he said, adding that the payments continued to be sent to his former wife two months after he came out of prison, causing him to lodge a protest with the NIS.
Furthermore, Taylor, who was involved in a serious accident in 2002 and walks with a limp, said he was disappointed that the NIS ordered him to get an evaluation from a doctor in order to continue to receive his disability benefits.
Back in 2012, Taylor said he made a report to the police and as far as he was aware someone was arrested but never charged. He said he found it strange that after writing several letters to the police and the NIS, an authorisation form bearing his signature was finally sent to his lawyer last year.
In January police sent correspondence to his attorney captioned Allegation of Forgery by Cherwin Taylor. It said: “Further to the complaint made by your client concerning the captioned subject, please be informed that the findings of the document examiner has confirmed that your client is the author of the questioned document.”
Taylor wrote to the Commissioner of Police in April pleading for further investigation. “At the time of this incident I was incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds,” he told the police chief. “In order for me to sign any document it would have had to go through the prison’s security and they would have been stamped (with the prison’s stamp) to indicate that they had been received and approved by the prison’s management and that I was allowed to sign the document. There are no such markings or stamps on this document.
“Please, Mr Commissioner! Please! What else can he ask for? If the police can’t help, then who can he turn to? Who in Barbados is above the law, Mr Commissioner? Taylor asked in his letter.
An upset Taylor, who lives at President Kennedy Drive, St Michael, said the situation had left him confused and miserable, especially since the disability benefits were his only means of support.
“I feel very bad because my name [was] forged and it makes me look as if I am a liar and a thief because I trying to get somebody lock up for something that them ain’t do. This is very unfair. I would like finality to this because this is total nonsense and it got me confused and miserable. I would like the police to do what is right . . .”
When contacted on Tuesday, the communications officer at the NIS, Derek Lowe, said that the department’s attorneys indicated that the matter was before the court and the NIS could not comment on it. However, Taylor said that as far as he was aware the only case before the court was one involving his child support.
Also on Tuesday, Jefferson Clarke, Acting the Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of the Fraud Squad, would only confirm that correspondence was sent to Taylor’s attorney with the findings of the document examiner.
Since then, Taylor called to say that three police officers visited his home yesterday and asked if he would be willing to take a lie detector test.
“I told them to speak to my attorney,” he said. (MB)