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Better system needed for dealing with delinquent fathers – Lawyer

Better system needed for dealing with delinquent fathers – Lawyer


Queen’s Counsel Parnel Campbell is of the view that a more effective system should be put in place to deal with delinquent fathers who refuse to pay maintenance for their children.{{more}}

Campbell’s comments were made at the High Court on Tuesday at the opening of the new law term.

The prominent attorney said one of the most serious ills in St Vincent and the Grenadines lies in the waywardness of young boys, being brought up by single mothers, in circumstances where the fathers refuse to maintain them.

“This seems to be the breeding place for gangsterism, which has developed in our society over the years,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Inner Bar, Campbell said if one does a sociological study, one would find that a lot of delinquency is traceable to homes where there is no father figure.

“Boys are simply coming up and going astray and receiving their indoctrination in the company of other boys, older than themselves, who have a history of delinquency themselves. Look at the population, most of these people there are young boys who have gone astray because of no father figure,” Campbell stated.

Campbell said many mothers say it is a waste of time going to the court to seek maintenance orders against the father, because there is no reinforcement of that order.

“You cannot police a maintenance system with three or four bailiffs. Most fathers know if they refuse to pay, the chances of someone coming and taking them from their jobs are slim,” Campbell added.

He said if these fathers are delinquent in paying the maintenance orders long enough, the law says they do not have to pay it, after a certain time.

“You must revisit this. Until fathers understand that they are likely to be arrested and imprisoned for refusing to pay maintenance orders, they will continue to refuse to pay, as young mothers continue to suffer…”

Campbell reiterated that an effective maintenance system must be looked at to help these mothers.

“You can’t force the father to show love, but you can force him to pay money once he is working…. Some men will find $800 to pay a lawyer to defend them in court and can’t find $300 to pay to the children,” Campbell stated.(KW)