FOR ALMOST a decade, an Orange Hill, St James mother has been waiting on child maintenance payments through the court.
Jane [not her real name] said her former partner had been ordered to pay $100 a week for their son, but he now owed more than $40 000 and it did not look like she would be paid anytime soon.
The distraught woman has accused court marshals of shirking their duty and refusing to apprehend the man.
Speaking to a WEEKEND NATION team on Tuesday, she admitted marshals had indeed caught up with the delinquent father once, but recently her cries for justice had fallen on deaf ears and her plight ignored by blind eyes.
“[After the relationship soured] we went to court and he was ordered to pay $100 weekly, which was getting deducted from his salary, but after that he give up the job and told me I couldn’t spend another cent of his money,” she said.
From there, Jane said the man played cat and mouse with marshals as arrears accumulated with each passing week. When the figured stood at about $10 000, she revealed, the man was caught by marshals. What happened next, she said, angered her greatly.
“Them only let he pay $1 500. It took them more than two years to find he and that is all? I freak out. Then he put me in court for visitation,” she said.
Jane said she initially did not want the man to see his son as he frequented places she did not approve, but eventually they worked out an arrangement. Even then she did not consider him a good role model for their son.
Loves his father
“My son is 13 years old now so he can make his own decisions whether he wants to go with his father or not and he usually does as he loves his father, but that man does make a lot of promises he does not keep and I have to buy everything for my son,” she said.
With all that was going on, Jane said she still was not receiving the payments and her situation did not improve when she went back to court to see what was going on.
“When I went back to the Holetown court, the clerk say I no longer had a case and giving me attitude. Imagine, you got to go to court and leaving with water in your eyes when you just trying to get what is owed to you?” she said.
By now the total was more than $30 000 and the child maintenance system had changed as a new administration had taken office. Even so, she said her situation remained the same.
“I took it upon myself to find out where he was staying and took that information to the marshals and they said they would hold him but up to now they won’t. They tell me to set him up but why should I be doing their job? Plus, I wouldn’t want my son to go through anything like that,” she said.
Owed court fees
Jane said the situation was now desperate and she herself owed court fees as well as house loans, rent for her work space and had to make sure her water and electricity stayed on and her son had food to eat. She said the man had recently started paying money directly but she was not about to let him get off so easily.
“The money is so high, he say he can’t pay it at the court so he bringing me $50 and $100 bills some weeks but I tell he not to give that to me, but to pay through the court so he gives it to my son instead,” she said.
The mother questioned the efficiency of the system, and expressed doubt about ever getting the outstanding amount.
“They build up your hopes but in the end, nothing changes,” she said.
Repeated attempts to contact the chief marshal for a comment were unsuccessful.