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It seems to me that women have once again won the battle against men in Barbados. I speak of this new measure approved by Parliament to ensure that women get $50 a week for each child if a man has not paid child support for three months. Let me say upfront that I have no difficulty with helping women in genuine need. A man who fathers a child should live up to his responsibility and provide for his offspring until the age of 18. But what I do have a difficulty with is that every measure taken to help women in this situation has not taken into account how men are lied on. There are a lot of men in Barbados who are paying child support but are not the fathers of the children they are paying the court for. And a lot of us in Barbados know this. I would go further to say that this unfairness is why there is so much violence against women here too. I don’t condone it at all, but I know many men feel that their rights will never be upheld in court as long as women are involved so they take matters into their own hands. My point, therefore, is that if you are going to go all out to help women, put something in place to ensure that innocent men don’t continue to get burned. There should be a measure in place to allow a man to get a paternity test done – what most people call a DNA test – when he feels he is not the father of the child and wants to prove it. He should be able to pay half the money – $500 – and be allowed to get the test. If the child is his, then he should pay the other half or get time in prison for wasting the court’s time. But if the child is not his, the woman should be made to repay the man his deposit and then pay the full cost of the test. And if she can’t pay that, let her hold piece of prison too – that would be equality. This way, a lot of women would think long and hard before they push a child on a man and burden him with payments for the rest of his life. It would spare children the rejection and hatred directed towards them by a man they think is their father. It would also stop a lot of the tension we see in families. I feel passionately about this because when I was a young, single man I played the field a lot. And there was this schoolgirl who really liked me, but I just enjoyed her sexually. She had a boyfriend but he was a youngster like her, while I was a full man. Then she got pregnant and called to tell me I had done that to her. She wanted money to have an abortion and asked me for $700. I told her no way. For one, I always used a condom with her and none ever burst. Secondly, she said she was two months pregnant, but I had not had sex with her for nearly three months as, truth be told, I was checking someone else during that period and didn’t have any time for her. So I told her I would not give her a cent unless she confessed the truth. The girl came to my house and admitted she had sex with her boyfriend; it was his first time and he ejaculated in her. She then told me she needed my help as she had no other way to get the money and that was why she said she was pregnant for me. Being the man I was, I helped her out with the money. I did it because she was really a sweet girl and I thought she would do well if she stayed on track with her schoolwork. And she has. But what I took exception to were her lies. As a 17-year-old she saw lying as the only way out instead of telling the truth upfront. And that is what a lot of women do to men here. They have a man whom they really like, and he can score goals at will without having any responsibility but to show up when he’s ready for action. Then they have another man who pays money for the privilege of just being in her company. She doesn’t like him that much, but he gives her the financial security the other man can’t. The trouble starts when she gets pregnant. She knows the father is the pretty boy she enjoys, but since he is not responsible she sticks it on the other guy. And this has been going on in Barbados for years. What has me is that men who know this happens all the time can sit down in Parliament and continue to unfair other men by perpetuating this belief that men who don’t pay child support are just deadbeats and no good. Though some may be, a lot of men don’t pay child support because they are sure the child is not theirs. And sometimes they know it isn’t theirs because the woman, usually in anger, tells them that they put a child on them and they must pay the court or they’ll hold some jail time. That happened to a fellow I know. So my argument is that Government should put a measure in place to protect innocent men who have children put on them by wicked women. To me, that is only fair if we want true gender equality in Barbados. • Editor’s Note: The Forensic Sciences Centre does paternity tests for $1 000. This fee covers the mother, child and alleged father. Results take two to three weeks.