Saint Lucia will be reviewing the Child Maintenance Act as part of a planned overhaul of legislation that pertains to social services.
The disclosure has come from Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, Lenard Montoute.
Montoute told reporters Tuesday that the Child Maintenance Act has not been reviewed in some time.
According to reports, the usual sum that is paid in Saint Lucia is between $125 and $200 per child on a monthly basis.
The sum has been criticised by the local advocacy group – Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.
The group’s President Catherine Sealys has in the past asserted that $200 a month will not give food for a day, much less food for a month.
Asked for his opinion in regard to the sum paid for child maintenance, Montoute explained that there is a lot to be done not only in terms of the quantum but also some of the existing policies.
“I for one do not believe that the right thing or the best answer is to imprison a father who is unemployed and unable to take care of his children,” he stated.
The minister expressed the view that the government should instead put programmes in place to guide fathers into them and deduct the finance needed to take care of the children.
He asserted that imprisoning fathers does not assist children.
“I know it is a hard, long tedious process and of course it is not all entirely up to me. I know the Attorney General’s office has its hands full; but I will certainly be pushing to try to get this legislative amendment done during this term of my tenure,” Montoute told reporters.