In my humble view, a law needs to be passed in The Bahamas requiring that the names of the fathers of all children be placed on birth certificates at birth.
Doesn’t it take both mother and father to produce a child? Why then is it only the mother’s name that is on such a majority of the birth certificates of children born in this country? Isn’t this practice assisting, reinforcing, enabling the culture of irresponsible and reckless production of children in the nation? Haven’t we realised that as a people, we must find ways to hold our parents accountable for irresponsible parenting? I contend that this is one of the first ways to do so.
First, there are the men who find the present legal situation convenient and suitable to their irresponsible sexual lifestyle. These are the men who are married. They then have other children outside of the marriage with women who are their mistresses or with whom they are having a “fling.” They produce these children, many times unintentionally, and then make it clear that the children are not to have their names because they do not want to be identified as the father. They do not want the public to know that they have been unfaithful to their wives or worst yet,that they were not careful while they were having their sexual pleasures. Some of these men support the women and children financially while some cut them off completely and want nothing to do with them.
Second in this group are the men who are not married and they have no intention of having any woman tie them down in a committed relationship. They want to have their freedom and they want to have free sex, so they roam from available woman to available woman and they move on. They do not care whether a child is produced after they would have had their fill of pleasure. They want no responsibility. They do not want any mothers or children-laying claim to their person or money.
Third in this group are the woman who, having reached a certain age where they fear that they are no longer marketable in the marriage market, decide that they are going to find a man, have sex with him so that they can have a child. It does not matter that the man has no commitment to them; what is important is to produce a child. So the man is carefully chosen, for his looks, for his intellect or his pedigree. The man sometimes might be cooperative in this venture, or if not, then he is seduced. One way or the other, these women get their desired sperm.
The fourth group are the women who sleep with different men at the same time. They use their bodies as a means of financial support. So they get money from each of the men with whom they sleep. When a baby is born, she says to each of the men that she needs each of them to support the child. The men do not know this strategy. Each man thinks he is the father. It is quite suitable for her not to have the father named on the birth certificate.
There is a common theme that runs through the reason for all these persons not wanting the fathers named on a child’s birth certificate. It is selfishness. No one in these groups thinks about the impact that such an act will have on the child.
The suffering from this practice of selfishness, of not naming fathers and of not legally acknowledging the paternity of our children, is producing havoc and untold suffering on our country. It is doing damage to us in the production of angry, bitter people who act out this anger in criminality.
I pray that change will take place in this nation, that even as the prophet Malachi says, that the “hearts of the fathers will be turned to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers”.