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I CONFESS: Hard times without child support


Barbados Nation

I CONFESS: Hard times without child support

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There is a lot of talk these days about protecting the youth from bad influences and giving them more say in what is going on so that they would grow up to be more responsible.

That talk makes sense and I agree with it.

But the politicians need to go further than all the speeches they have been making recently in Parliament and in the media. They need to ensure that the legislaton is enforced and not just left on the statutebooks to be passed on from administration to administration.

They need to ensure that things that can be done to help children are done. I speak particularly about the payment of child maintenance.

Yes, as the politicians and commentators have pointed out, there are some women who are abusing the system, using the children as pawns by preventing the fathers from seeing their children as provided for by the courts, but in my experence they are not in the majority.

A lot of women today are still at the mercy of irresponsible men who make them go through a lot of hell before they give them one red cent.

It is ridiculous that in this small country marshals can’t find a man to bring him to the court to make him face up to his responsibility. In my case it’s nearly a year now and all I get are excuses why I am not getting the few cents I am supposed to get.

I put my children’s father in court to get him to pay maintenance, and at first he complied. Then he stopped. After a while the marshals found him and he had to start paying again. He has stopped again, but they can’t find him to bring him before the magistrate to make him pay.

A marshal suggested to me that he might be out of the island, but I know he could get his family to lie for him, so I don’t believe that.

Because I can’t get this money, and given the few dollars I work for, things are really hard. Right now my boyfriend and I are barely making ends meet because he has his own children to support and can’t give me any more support.

With no money, I am also stuck with my boyfriend and have to put up with his foolish friends who come over to the house and sit down playing dominoes or cards until all hours of the morning.

My little boy sees this and is now saying that he wants to learn how to play cards. So I have to be telling him that there is no way he is going to be a gambler as long as I’m alive.

I am also concerned about my daughter. I don’t want her living in a place where so many men are keeping noise, drinking liquor and talking worthlessness.

I also don’t want her growing up seeing me being unhappy, yet taking it because I have no other choice. That influences how you think about men and behave towards them. I know because that was what I went through as a child.

My mother had quite a few men, though I never realised what she was doing until I got older. She had those men to make sure she got money to feed, clothe and keep a roof over the heads of me and my sisters. No woman should be put in that position to survive.

I swore that I would never put myself in a position where I would be like my mother and have to depend on a man. But with the few dollars that I am earning, and with the cost of living as it is, I don’t have much choice but to put up with my man until I can do better.

That is why the people in power need to deal with this situation regarding maintenance for children rather than just talk. I know if many women were able to get their children’s money regularly, they would not put up with living in substandard conditions. We would be on our own making a proper home for our children.

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