Largely in favour of travel restrictions for deadbeat dads, but one resident asks: Why not punish delinquent moms too?
As Government mulls over travel and other restrictions for fathers not paying child support, The Royal Gazette spoke to residents who were largely supportive of the idea.
While most agreed the proposal is better than sending delinquent fathers to prison, many felt any restrictions imposed should be considered on an individual basis.
Louis Galipeau and others worried that restricting travel could prevent fathers from seeking employment overseas.
“It's a hard one. The Island is small with limited opportunities,” said the 33-year-old software developer.
“Maybe an arrangement can be made with the courts if there is employment to found elsewhere. There's not a lot of opportunities on the Island, or at least a limited number of opportunities, so if the father wants to set things right, being in Bermuda might not necessarily be the best thing financially to provide the support needed.”
“It depends on why they're travelling. It's all circumstantial,” said student Antoinette Webb, 18. “I mean, if it's a dire trip and they have to go away for medical help, that's not fair. I think they should investigate what they are travelling for and not just say: ‘No, you can't go away.' But if that's not the case, then they should be allocating funds they're using to go away for their child. That's only fair.”
Party promoter Daniel Woods, 23, said the measures would be “a step in the right direction”, but echoed Mr Galipeau's assertion that travel for work should not be impeded.
“You have to do something. Obviously if the travel is work related, you don't want to hurt that, but it's a good start.”
Business manager and father, Toriano Robinson, 39, said: “If they're gonna do it, they're gonna do it. I mean, children have to eat, so ... it's something that needs to be done. [It's better than sending fathers to prison], sure, because we won't have to pay for that. I think this is the better option.”
One resident, however, was not so forgiving.
“I definitely believe they should do that,” said retiree Elizabeth Vieira, 66. “I also think they should go to jail when they don't pay. If they can afford to travel, they can afford to pay child support.”
“I think it's stupid. Why would they even do that?” wondered nursing student Kimberly Murray, 22. “Just make them pay. If they're trying to run away, I can see why you'd try and stop it. But if you can't afford to pay child support, but can afford to go away, that makes sense, yes.”
Meanwhile Roan Jones questioned why fathers alone were being targeted.
“What about the mothers? Why just fathers?” asked the 44-year-old heavy equipment operator. “There's a lot of delinquent mothers and people don't think of that. A broken home can start with a female, they keep yapping and disrespecting ... it don't work.
“You have to think about the child, not about yourself. You have to raise the child from young. But when the child grows up seeing his mother disrespecting daddy, they think it's a normal thing. So when they come up and he or she has their own child, they gonna disrespect too.”