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Feb 8, 2024

Should Law Obligate Grandfathers to Care for Grandchildren in Absence of Father?

Eamon Courtenay

An amendment to the Families and Children Act, stemming from a recent High Court ruling, seeks to mandate that a grandfather care for his grandchildren if the father of that child neglects his responsibility. The proposed amendment caused a great deal of concerns and questions among senators. Several parliamentarians referred to the proposed amendment as unfair. Here is how that debate played out.


Eamon Courtenay, Lead Government Senator

“Respect of the grandchild, it is only where the father or mother of the child is ill cannot be located or are unable to maintain themselves. So, a father must maintain his child. With respect to the grandchildren, that obligation rest on the mother and father to maintain that child, however if that mother or father is ill, cannot be located, or unable to maintain themselves then it is the grandfather obligation to maintain is imposed. This comes out of a decision of the Supreme Court. And so the law is being clarified that the obligation of the grandfather is not forever and always it is only if the parent cannot maintain the child in these circumstances.”


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead U.D.P. Senator

“I according to this, I have a child and no matter how hard some parents try, sometimes your children don’t turn out they way they should turn out. So now me, I am eighty-five now and I can only run five miles now as opposed to the ten I run today. I am receiving a pension and small social security and my son who is not able to maintain himself, he has three four children that he is not able to maintain, that falls on me, as an elderly grandfather with limited means? You get to same problem. How can you expect people to take on the responsibilities of another human being? The great Dean Lindo once coined a phrase, if you dead deh nuh wah bury me.”


Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, NGO Senator

“When you get into the issue of fairness, to segue from Senator Herrera’s comments, then it also raises a dynamic well for the state and the tax payer, is it “fair” that children are born to the mercy of the world, abandoned by everybody and then the tax payer has to meet the needs of those children? I have stood in this honorable house before and said we don’t talk about sex and it is a national fact that men and women are having sex and having children and it is costing us in multiple ways. We spoke about keeping children in schools. The trauma of some of these experiences, these homes these children are coming from because they are born into relationships to keep financial ties to a man, men who has thirty children, forty-five children.”

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