Child support : PM urges means test

Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has proposed a new method of determining child support from fathers.

He told a meeting Thursday night of his ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) to celebrate International Women’s Day, that the time has come to take a hard look at the law that currently exists.

Anthony, a former University of the West Indies Law Lecturer, explained that currently the child support law says that an errant father is required to pay two hundred dollars a month for the maintenance of a child.

Noting that the law has been in existence for years, the Prime Minister told his audience that there was need to be realistic because times have changed.

“I accept without hesitation that there are men in our midst who are unable sometimes to maintain their children; they want to and cannot because sometimes they are victims themselves, they are unemployed with nowhere to turn and no source of income,” Anthony told his audience.

He said he did not know whether the best thing is to incarcerate people who have no means of income and leave them in jail for months, when they cannot work to get money to assist their children.

Doctor Anthony asserted that the time has come to change how to determine the way in which a mother should be supported in bringing up her offspring.

“For that reason perhaps we need to look at a means test to look at the means of the men, the means of the mother and then determine what is a realistic maintenance,”  he told his audience.

Anthony explained that it will be the responsibility of the SLP to look at the matter to ensure more equity and fairness in the law, thus ensuring that children are looked after  and  are not left destitute by errant men who refuse to live up to their  responsibilities.