Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2014 Contents B43
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Who is my father? That is a ques-
tion that is being asked daily by hun-
dreds of children right here in our
beloved T&T. Many children grow into
adulthood without really knowing
who their biological fathers are.
It is quite common in our country
to have children brought up by two
people in a "live with" relationship,
with only one of the parents being bio-
logically connected to the children. The
empirical data can be found in news-
paper reports which identify the victim
or the accused through different sur-
This situation has absolutely nothing
to do with donor insemination or any
of today s modern medical procedures
used to impregnate women. It is simply
a case of convenience. To be brutally
frank, in the majority of cases it is an
economic reality. A woman needs finan-
cial support and hooks up with the first
male that can offer some sense of secu-
rity. And this can change several times
in a single adult life.
In a booklet Marriage and the Family,
produced by the Caribbean Institute
for Family Development (CIFD) some
ten years ago, there is a vignette titled
Who Is My Father? It reads: "On
August 10, 2000, Joanna Rose, a young
woman conceived by donor insemina-
tion in a London clinic 28 years ago
(then) was interviewed on the Australian
TV current affairs show Lateline; she
was first told when she was eight years
old, but only much later on did she
begin to understand the implications."
It hit her in her early teens while
speaking at a conference on donor
insemination. "I just suddenly realised,"
she says, "that there was more to this
and that that meant I had a biological
father and a whole biological family
that I d never thought of before and I
really thought I was going to pass out
on the stage in front of a few hundred
At the conference she met someone
who could have been her father. Trying
to figure out whether he was or not
proved quite difficult; and above all, it
was emotionally overwhelming for her.
Joanna Rose feels that she was simply
part of a badly thought out medical
experiment. "A social guinea pig, an
experimental guinea pig" as she put it.
While, however, there is great dif-
ference between donor insemination
and children born out of "live with"
relationships, there is a similarity in
the result. There is always the absence
of a true father figure---and as a con-
sequence, family life is absent.
Since the word marriage hardly ever
enters the discussions that may take
place between such couples, family life
in the true sense will never be realised.
That is why today the Catholic Church
is insisting that couples planning to get
married must go through a period of
preparation---as is done for most of the
Former President Noor Hassanali
some years back said in a speech: "In
T&T today the family and the marriage
institution are in crisis. There is little
doubt that this is a principal cause of
the violence, delinquency and the grow-
ing anti-life mentality that we are expe-
riencing in these times."
Hassanali could have been regarded
as a prophet, because today more than
ten years later, the situation has become
worse. As a church and a pillar of the
society, we Catholics must begin to do
everything possible to have faith in the
position of the family and the dignity
of the human person.
Vernon Khelawan is the media rela-
tions officer of Catholic Media Serv-
ices Limited, the official communica-
tions arm of the Archdiocese of
Port-of-Spain. Its offices are located
at 31 Independence Square. Tele-
According to the Catholic Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, families with unmarried
parents, or an absent father, are lacking in the kind of "true" family life that
comes with having both parents present to support and bring up their children.
'True family life
needs both parents'
Members of Santa Rosa's First Peoples Community receive Holy Communion during a Mass to
commemorate the Feast of Santa Rosa at the Arima RC Church, last Sunday. PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
FIRST PEOPLES CELEBRATE
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