A British mother-to-be who flew 4,000 miles across the world to give birth on a beach is now ‘stranded’ off the coast of Grenada with her four-month-old baby.
Iuliia Gurzhii, 38, and husband, Clive, 51, said they ‘feel like prisoners’ as they have been unable to register her newborn’s birth or apply for a passport.
The couple left Tameside, Manchester, and were travelling to Rodney Bay in St Lucia so that Iuliia could fulfil her dream of having the most ‘natural’ birth possible on a beach.
But her waters broke and she gave birth to baby Louisa at sea on April 23.
Ever since, the couple have been locked in a battle against bureaucracy to get her home.
Iuliia Gurzhii, 38, husband, Clive, 51, and their daughter Louisa. The couple ‘feel like prisoners’ after getting stuck unable to register her newborn’s birth or apply for a passport
Iuliia Gurzhii with her baby. The couple were travelling to Rodney Bay in St Lucia, so that Iuliia could fulfil her dream of the most ‘natural’ birth on a beach there, but her waters broke and she gave birth to baby Louisa at sea
To make matters worse, they left their eight-year-old daughter Elizabeth in the UK because they couldn’t get her passport renewed.
Initially they were told by a hospital that they couldn’t register her birth because she was more than 24 hours old.
Then an immigration office said they needed proof the baby was theirs, before a passport office said they couldn’t help because the couple had no proof of where Louisa was born.
And now they claim the UK High Commission said they needed a DNA test – which they are still waiting to get the results for.
Feeling ‘stranded and abandoned’ and running out of money, the pair say they don’t know how they will get back to the UK.
Iuliia, a yoga teacher, said she is having sleepless nights due to the stress of not being able to go home to her daughter, who is being looked after by her auntie, Kristina, 24.
She said: ‘It is hurricane season we have storms now – it is traumatising for us all.
‘I can’t stop crying, we are begging for help – we have been abandoned.’
Clive, a sports coach from Tameside, said: ‘We have been passed around different agencies and nobody will help us.
‘We are running out of money. We will soon run out of food, and nobody is helping us.
‘We are essentially stateless – we are more than abandoned. We are prisoners in a country that we are not allowed to leave.’
The couple left the UK in March when Iuliia was 35 weeks pregnant and first travelled to Martinique.
They then headed to St Lucia by boat and Iuliia gave birth at sea off the coast of Rodney Bay.
Louisa was born at 12.40am, weighing 3kg.
A few days later, the parents visited the Owen King European Union (OKEU) Hospital in St Lucia to get checked over and register their daughter’s birth.
But they claim they were told they couldn’t because it was not within 24 hours of her birth.
Iuliia Gurzhii, her husband Clive and their daughter Louisa. The couple left the UK in March when Iuliia was 35 weeks pregnant
Iuliia Gurzhii, her husband Clive and their daughter Louisa at a beachside resort. The new parents went to the immigration office in St Lucia for help and claim they were told they would need proof that the baby was theirs
As the storm season began in St Lucia, the couple had to move the boat to safety and anchored in Grenada on June 20
Clive said: ‘We headed over to the registry office and filled in the forms for a birth certificate.
‘We waited for a couple of weeks and the registry office came back and said they couldn’t do anything as the baby wasn’t born in the hospital and nobody witnessed the birth.’
The new parents then went to the immigration office in St Lucia for assistance and claim they were told they would need proof that the baby was theirs.
The family contacted the passport office in Castries, St Lucia, hoping to secure an emergency passport for their baby.
But they claim they were not provided with one because they had no proof of where Louisa was born.
As the storm season began in St Lucia, the couple had to move the boat to safety and anchored in Grenada on June 20.
After arriving in Grenada, Clive and Iuliia went to the UK High Commission in St George for help.
But they claim they were told they would have to do a DNA test to prove that the baby is theirs.
They couple hope that when the DNA test results arrive, they will be allowed to leave with a passport for the baby and return to the UK.
Speaking of the ordeal, Clive said: ‘We don’t have enough money for flights. When we came over here, they were £600 each and now they are a few grand.
‘I am £6,000 in debt on the card. We are running out of money.
‘We keep being called by the Foreign Office and they ask us if we have an update for them.
‘They should be the ones helping us get out of here.’
An FCDO spokesman said: ‘We have offered consular support to a British family in St Lucia.’
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.