Speaking recently at the Gender Ministry, Minister Cassell said she has already started confiscating male employees’ cheques at unnamed ministries and agencies for child abandonment.
She averred that child abandonment under the law is a crime but the law has not been enforced due to limited knowledge which is compounded by cultural practices. She indicated that some women are not making use of the law thus reducing them to hardship and long suffering.
Madam Duncan Cassell admonished women irrespective of their educational status, must test the law on child abandonment through the court system.
The Gender Minister also warned that women who also in the habit of deserting their children and going after another man because of financial gains, will face similar punitive action.
She said the Gender Ministry is prepared to provide legal support for the survival of the child or children after all necessary negotiations fail to resolve the matters amicably.
Madam Cassell noted that many men or women would bear two to three children in a home and walk out of the house and go after other women or men especially when the mother or father is not an educated or working person to bring money in the home. Minister Cassell said these parents would forget to know that the children have future.
She describes abandonment as “wicked and devilish” act that needs serious attention, noting: “this is why many children are in the streets begging while some of them are criminals because of lack of parental trainings”.
The Gender Minister said child abandonment should be considered as national concern, and it must be addressed holistically by all stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and related UN agencies operating the country.
She called on female and male partners not to abandon their offspring due to hardship but to hold together and bring them up because “the children are your future.”
On several occasions men have been taken to court by women in around the country due to their alleged failures to support their children.
At the Paynesville Magisterial Court, a man was recently ordered to either face jail time or pay USD$500.00 to the mother for abandoning his child for the past two years.
The Gender Minister’s tough stance comes also against a child abandonment lawsuit filed against Montserrado County Senator George M. Weah by Madam Gono Glay.