Saint Lucia police have described as a ‘sad story’, the consequences of non-payment of child support by delinquent fathers.
The officer in charge of the Central Police Station, Inspector Gibson Chitolie, discussed the issue last night during the MBC Television programme – Police Insight, with host, Corporal Zachary Hippolyte.
Chitole, explaining a commitment warrant, said when fathers are taken into custody for non-payment of child support, the police allow them the latitude to obtain the money.
He said if nothing is forthcoming, the fathers are escorted to the Bordelais Correctional Facility.
According to Chitolie, there are two types of maintenance warrants – the maintenance warrant and the maintenance commitment warrant.
He disclosed that when someone is arrested on a maintenance warrant the person does not go to prison.
“The officer takes you before the court where the Family Court Magistrate would order a payment plan,” Chitolie said.
He noted that this would occur after the child’s mother swears on a warrant informing the Family Court that the father has disobeyed a court order.
Chitolie observed that when the defaulter is arrested, he does not go to prison but back to the court where the Magistrate in ordering a payment plan, would inquire as to how long it would take to pay the outstanding sum of money.
“That does not mean that the child support you have to pay on a monthly basis stops,” he said, adding that the money continues to accumulate.
Chitolie disclosed that failure to pay after the payment plan has been drawn up, a maintenance warrant will be issued for failure to pay and the defaulter will be arrested.
He indicated that even then the police officer would use discretion before escorting the person to prison.
The officer in charge of Central Police station explained that mothers need the money to help support their children.
However Chitolie said a situation may develop where a father is in and out of prison for child support for failure to honour his obligations.
“It’s a sad story,” he lamented.