MESA standing firm on DNA testing
The National Organization of Women (NOW) remains firm on its opposition to mandatory DNA testing, despite a recent case in which a man paid $35,000 in child support only to find out after eight years that he was not the child’s father.
President Marilyn Rice-Bowen described the situation as “very unfortunate”, but insisted that “NOW still reveres the position of a mother and we will not waver from our original position against mandatory DNA testing”.
However, Ralph Boyce, president of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) indicated that the case supported his group’s call for mandatory testing.
The article, published by Barbados TODAY, reported on a family matter in court in which a retiree discovered, through the results of a DNA test, that he had been deceived into paying child support.
He also discovered that the girl had been residing at a Government-run institution for the past two years, that the mother continued receiving the money he had paid into the court even though she was not supporting the girl, and that she had presented another man to the Child Care Board as the father of the child.
Boyce told Barbados TODAY that type of discovery was “a fairly normal occurrence”.
But he said with DNA testing now accepted as “what has to happen when there is doubt”, would “stop a lot of the nonsense that has been going on in Barbados and it will ensure that men have some recourse”.
His concern, however, is the high cost of DNA testing and the fact that some courts are asking men to pay for such tests, while others advocate that the cost be split between the man and woman.
Rice-Bowen, meantime, said it was “regrettable that the father was not aware of the steps in the process to securing a DNA test which would have saved him time and money”.
She said her organization did not have the statistical data to show the number of DNA tests done annually, or the results of those tests.
The NOW president said it was important to have that data to determine what, if any, public education programmes were required.