It is deception for a man to have financially supported a child who is later proven not his, and when this is confirmed, the mother should pay back any monies received for that youngster.
Such is the view of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) and its president Ralph Boyce, who said the organisation would be pushing harder this year for automatic DNA testing of newborns.
“The fact is if she has been claiming the man as the father, and he is not the father, then to me it’s a kind of fraud,” Boyce said last night during MESA’s meeting at The St Michael School.
Further, MESA believes that the cost of mandatory DNA testing should be reduced, and both the man and woman involved should be made to pay the charges.
“The most difficult pain of all . . . is that where the man has paid money over a period of time and he discovers it is not his child, the funds should be refunded. Every cent back to the man, every penny that he has paid.”
Chairing a group of some 30 men, mostly over 55, Boyce said: “You hear people say the man must pay the $1,000 [DNA test fee]. The women are simply saying, ‘If he wants to know let him pay’. But the woman should want to know too; the state should want to know who is the real father of the child.”
Boyce also wants to see uniformity in the decision on who pays in cases of court-ordered DNA testing.
“At the moment it is inconsistent, because when I recently called the DNA people, they said some magistrates say that both should pay . . . . So we need in Barbados a consistent approach to the whole question of payment for the DNA. And a $1,000 fee is much too much. So we can look at what does it really cost. Some countries you go and pick up a DNA kit from a drug store,” he said.
“I’m simply saying that we should have more definitive evidence of the paternity of the child. And that is something that we in our particular programme here [will] intensify the advocacy for DNA testing for paternity, for shared and reduced cost and recovery of funds,” he said.
Boyce, a former Chief Education Officer, added that DNA testing was necessary, especially when there was doubt, because men could be made to suffer in cases where they challenged the allegation of fatherhood and refused to support the child.
“We have several cases of men being hounded down for paternity, go to prison, come out several times to discover the child doesn’t belong to them at all. It’s wrong.”