Human Services Ministry to publicise delinquent dads

Stabroek News
December 8, 2000

Photographs of deadbeat fathers might soon be published in the local newspapers, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Indra Chandarpal, said.

This would be the next move by her ministry as it seeks to track down men who shirk their financial and other responsibilities to their children.

"I am pondering about getting photographs of these men who are not paying their child support and publishing them in the papers... in addition to that we will look to see what other measures we can put in place so that we can get them to pay the support for their children," Chandarpal said at a media conference at the Guyana Television Broadcasting Co (GTV) on Monday.

"...I will be taking this issue public and I will go after those fathers next year. ... we need to perhaps make this point over and over in order to establish how serious it is," Chandarpal said highlighting the fact that the problem continued to increase although government and private organizations had been working towards solving it.

She also pointed out that although some men were imprisoned because they failed to pay child support, getting them to pay through the courts was not working.

According to Chandarpal, some men preferred being imprisoned yo paying the not so large financial contribution towards their child's survival. "A lot of parents do not understand the psychological effects that can have on their children... A lot of children are traumatized because their parents are not there with them. Parents [are] leaving their children unattended and children get killed in the process. But only when the consequences are fatal is it being made pubic and brought to the attention of the government."

Chandarpal noted that although many men did not take responsibility for their children, women continued to encourage them into their lives and bare children for them. "I don't know why it is they [women] are not aware of all the serious repercussions. They will have a child with one guy and he will not pay the child support and then they go out and have more children with other people." She said that they would end up with four or five children for whom none of the fathers bore responsibility. Saddened by this, Chanderpal posed the rhetorical question, "What is going to happen to our society?"

Chandarpal said that she and the ministers of Health and Home Affairs were to discuss that and other problems and find solutions so that all of Guyana's children could be protected. "We mustn't be found wanting because our systems have failed these children. we need to look at what are the weaknesses and try to come up with the strategies to deal with [them]."

The government is currently working on reintroducing the school welfare programme. Welfare officers will be assigned to specific areas and will check school registers to identify children who are absent regularly. They will then visit their homes, investigate the reasons for their absence, and try to solve the problems.

"We have looked at all the laws that are relating to children and that are scattered into bits and pieces of legislation... We are going to ensure that our laws are in compliance with the National Commission on the Rights of the Child and this is what we are looking at with a view to make additional recommendations to the Attorney General's Chambers so that all of that can be looked into," Chandarpal said.

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today