Use tax refunds to pay arrears
There is a suggestion that income tax refunds for fathers who owe child maintenance payments should be applied to those arrears.
The recommendation came today from Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds.
Making his contribution to debate on the Maintenance (Amendment) Bill 2014 in the House of Assembly this evening, he called on Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to take charge of the situation and make “automaticity” a reality.
“I want to say that there are some solutions that we must be prepared to look at. Every time there is one of these debates we come here and we hear the story given that people are not paying the maintenance. But has the time not come when we should therefore be saying that attachment orders become compulsory and automatic in certain circumstances, if not in all? How long is too long? How many children must go without before we come to the point where we speak the language of automaticity of attachment orders?” he questioned.
“When there were income tax repayments that meant something, then you could set them off against support arrears in maintenance, but the steps that need to be taken can be taken only by the Attorney General of Barbados, acting in command of this matter. And I say ‘command’ deliberately, because as Attorney General he is expected to take command of the matter, not
to cower down.”
After months of waiting to receive their income tax returns, Barbadians were told last week by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that with Government facing a shortage of cash, consideration was being given to offering tax certificates instead.
“The Minister of Finance may mean well but I don’t think he comprehends the problem that the Attorney General presides over, so the Attorney General must command the situation,” Symmonds said.