Member of Parliament for St John, Charles Griffith, on his way to Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly, where he blasted deadbeat dads. (Picture by Gercine Carter.)
Too many Barbadian youngsters are ending up in the law courts charged with murder and other criminal offences because their fathers “donate sperm” but refuse to “man up” afterwards.
Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Charles Griffith lamented this societal challenge on Tuesday as the House of Assembly debated legislation which would abolish the mandatory death sentence for murder.
“I really want to send a message to the men in Barbados that if you enjoy a couple moments of ecstasy, you must man up to what is happening after that because if we don’t do that, we are going to constantly see a flow of youngsters who . . . end up before the court,” the St John MP warned.
“The men in Barbados must man up to their responsibility of fatherhood. It can’t be a case that you are walking around in tie and driving big rides and all the rest of it, and the children that you produce are suffering.”
Griffith, a former senior youth commissioner, said he knew first-hand “females are facing the court system in the most embarrassing circumstances to collect money, and you have fathers out there who are not interacting with their male children. It is forcing those youngsters to look for love on the blocks and in groupings that will only lead to a negative finale”.
The father of three also told the Lower House: “If you look at the court cases, more often than not you would see youngsters from a socio-economic background that speaks to struggle.
“I want to be pointed here as it relates to parenting, and I am not going to point the fingers at the females because I, too, could have gone in that direction as the product of a single mother. But I want to point the finger at the fathers, or maybe those persons who donate sperm in this society and masquerade as fathers,” he stressed.
“I believe that if the men in this society took greater responsibility at what we know as parenting, what we know as fatherhood, then the situation that we see reflecting in the daily papers about those guys who are facing the law courts for the death penalty would not be there.”
Griffith acknowledged that good parenting could not guarantee that some youngsters would not “go rogue”, but he noted “the block culture will not in any way reduce itself soon because every day we have youngsters from communities who are gravitating to the blocks because it is [their] only solace . . . .
“There is no love at home, there is no father figure to actually guide them in a particular direction, and hence the influence of peers will always redound in some cases to youngsters making decisions that will place them before the courts,” he said. (SC)