The issue of men failing to support their children and causing them to be a burden on society is being grabbed by the throat by the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, which will be introducing legislation to clamp down on such persons.
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) dropped the bombshell announcement yesterday January 20, 2020 at a press conference held at the Village Cay Conference Room on Wickham’s Cay I, Tortola.
It was a day of surprises as the press conference was called to announce that third term legislator, Honourable Alvera Maduro Caines (R6) had left the National Democratic Party (NDP) to join the Virgin Islands Party (VIP).
The switch now moves her from the Opposition side of the House of Assembly (HoA) to the Government side of the HoA. It also created a historic three-woman team in the HoA.
‘I don’t know why men get children & don’t support them’
With the continued expression of the Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews and most recently the Resident Judge, Her Ladyship Justice Vicki Ann Ellis, lamenting the sore issue of the rising numbers of domestic violence and related issues, Premier Fahie was asked what his Government was doing to tackle the problems.
While noting that legislations are coming, Premier Fahie shared that a particular legislation will seek to dragnet men who are defaulting on child support.
“Even with child support, I do not know why men go and get children and don’t support them. I have an issue with that,” Premier Fahie said.
He expressed, “So one of the legislations we are going to bring forward within the second quarter or so of this year is that they can’t leave the Territory again, ever, until they pay off their bills and we are going to attach their names to every single thing in government.”
“So when they go to pay one, say they have to pay Social Security to get contract, with the e-government legislation that we are doing, their name will pop up that they owing Inland Revenue or they owe somewhere else and you not getting nothing until you pay up that child support and all those other things.”
Fighting for single mothers
Making it emphatically clear that parenting requires both parents, Hon Fahie added, “We have to understand that when we get children and we don’t support them we are putting them to be a burden on society and asking a lady to do all of that, raise the children and to get monies, that is too much and I don’t take that lightly.”
According to Premier Fahie, the female legislators, along with Deputy Speaker and At Large Representative, Honourable Neville A. Smith and Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (Al), have been tasked with handling the drafting of those legislations.
“We are going to be fighting for the single mothers.”
Premier Fahie also alluded to the domino effect caused by children lacking support from both parents, which he said in many cases results in them becoming a burden on society.
“Some of them end up in jail, some of them end up stealing, murdering and it all started because they didn’t have that father figure.”