06 July, 2007

Parental Responsibility

Youth Violence. You probably read the story in the St Maarten Herald like me. Two boys severely chopped up by several other boys. They were fighting over drugs' turf. Just like in Anguilla. The boys were arrested and charged.

What interested me in the story was the bit about making the parents pay. We can’t do that in Anguilla. My boys can chop up your boys all they want. You can’t sue them for compensation because they are too young. You can’t sue me because I have not done you anything. Law can always be changed. If the law said I was responsible in certain circumstances, would you approve? What if I knew that my boys kept guns and knives at home, and I did not take them away? What if my boys hung out with a gang, and I did not forbid them? What if you had reported to me that my boys had threatened to chop up your boys, and I said that it would serve your boys right? Should society not justifiably feel that I was as much to blame as the boys once the promised chopping took place? Should I not be made to pay for the loss and damage that my negligent upbringing of my children has caused? Would I not take more care of my responsibilities if there was a strong risk that I would be made to pay? Should I not be considered to have committed an offence of my own in those circumstances? It would be the easiest law for a trained draughtsperson to prepare. She would not even have to break out in a sweat. She just has to follow the precedents that exist elsewhere.

What do you think?


  1. This is a great idea. But the upper limits of financial responsibility is very "American." I believe it has no rational basis, and was probably added to get the legislation passed. If I am a wealthy parent with a big house, three cars and a hundred acres of land, and my monster child burns down the home of a poor person, why should my liability be limited to $5000? $5000 is nothing to me. The poor persons has been totally wiped out.

    Liability limits are thought to protect the poor from a life of indebtedness. We already have protection for such people; it is called bankruptcy.

  2. There is really a number of irresponsible parents out there who do not deserved to be parents, on the other hand there are some very good parents who does all it takes, and some children just follow the wrong crowd. Many parents today are sick because of their children and seem hopeless. I believe that in some cases where it is recognised that some parents has done all they can do within their powers, then there must be some other authority where these children would have to report to. Some cases are just hopeless.
    And also some children are just a product of their maker.

  3. Along with financial responsibility, we should have parenting classes. They could be made mandatory as a condition of probation in matters where the court is involved, and perhaps as a condition of a child not being suspended from school. Of course, these classes shouldn't be seen as a form of punishment, and all parents should be encouraged to attend voluntarily.

    Parents that are able should be made to pay for the classes. Being unable to pay because I have to have a new car every three years does not constitute a hardship case.

    Ijahnya Christian is already doing parenting classes. Her grasp of what's gone wrong in our society is truly thoughtful and caring. I would like to see the Minister put aside his personal prejudices about Rastas and contract with Ijahnya for parenting classes.

  4. Teachers who have had their windshield smashed or car body dented just because their car was parked in the line of a rock fight had to pay for the damages them selves, a teacher who was hit with a two by four had to pay her own medical bills. It is a shame.

    Parents who'll face financial consequences because of the misbehavior of their children will pay more attention to their child.

    In Anguilla both parents should be held accountable, not just the parent the child lives with. Let the men step up to the plate and be fathers.

    This IS a great idea. Where do we start. How to get this in place?

  5. I believe this initiative would have very wide support -- as well as a very small number of complainers who would make a lot of noise while claiming that monster children are the fault of their "maker" or bad seed or the planets or the devil or some other stupidness.

    But it would first need the support of the do-nothing Ego in Charge at the Social Services Ministry.

    So forget it.

  6. With a new board that is constituted, I hope that boards can be set up to spearhead these concerns, I find that boards are made up of friends and family. A circle of friends, whether they function or not, that does not matter, the ministry of health and education need two ministers, these areas are too wide for one minister, that is the reason for him not being able to handle both successfully, it is not easy and some civil servants does not function at all.

  7. Some young people are feeling defranchised in this country, the tide has to change around here,more careful planning has to be in Anguilla, it is almost gone it has one little before it falls into a precipice.

  8. Standing as we are on the edge of the precipice, we make excuses for the poor Minister, who is so busy in Health he's been non-functional in Education, and so busy in Education he's been non-fucntional in Health.

  9. The Requirements of Article 8
    Article 8 states:

    "1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and correspondence.
    2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

    I think we should butt out of peoples family life. It would be absurd to punish parents for crimes their children have committed. I am sure most parents "do the right thing" and perhaps discipline does not get through but its not their fault! Monsters do not come from the womb....THEY ARE A PRODUCT OF SOCIETY.


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