Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2015 Contents SHALIZA HASSANALI
Rhondall Feeles is hoping that
a forum between the judiciary
and the Single Fathers Associa-
tion in T&T (SFATT) this Friday
will open the doors for non-cus-
todial dads to be allowed more
time with children.
For the past three years, Feeles,
who heads the association, has
been knocking on the doors of the
judiciary to raise one concern---
that single fathers be granted more
time with their child/children by
Finally they received a favourable
Last week, Feeles said he got a
call from an official in the judiciary
who indicated that they will meet
with the association.
Both parties will form part of a
Father s Day consultation on June
19 at the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
They will be joined by the Min-
istry of Health, Ministry of Gender,
Youth and Child Development,
National Security Ministry, social
workers and single fathers to dis-
cuss matters affecting single
fathers and policies they can
At the consultation, Feeles said
he intends to raise the limited time
fathers are allowed to spend with
their children mandated by the
He would also address the issue
of single fathers who do not benefit
from social welfare for their chil-
dren, while some single mothers
are beneficiary to this funding.
SFATT was established in 2012
as an advocacy group in order to
raise national awareness about
children estranged from their
The group has a registered
membership of 1,800.
He said as it stands, fathers are
granted only four days---Friday to
Sunday---every month with their
child or children.
"What the court is saying that
the child is deemed to be safe with
the father for only four days of the
month. The biggest obstacle we
face is shared parenting. The courts
need to grant fathers quality time
with the children. This is what the
judicial system and legislators need
to deal with and introduce."
Feeles said the consultation will
bring a new ray of hope for his
association and members.
"The association is finally seeing
the light at the end of the tunnel.
We are finally making a break-
through. Just getting a response
from the judiciary means that we
are going somewhere," Feeles said
"All is not lost."
Feeles wants to level the playing
field when it comes to child cus-
"Fathers should be allowed to
have their child or children 15 days
of the month. Fathers should be
able to shoulder half of the child s
responsibility the same way a
mother would. A lot of fathers are
not given equal opportunities with
The challenges single fathers
face, Feeles said, are no different
from those experienced by single
Feeles said a child who grows
up with a father becomes a more
productive individual, while a
child who is raised without a
father tends to be defiant and
"Sometimes they end up turn-
ing into a criminal."
He said children, especially
boys, need to develop stronger
bonds and meaningful relation-
ships with their fathers, which
was lacking in the country and
causing young men to go down
the wrong path.
Feeles said while fatherlessness
has had a devastating effect on
society, single fathers are seen as
lazy and deadbeat.
"Society does not respond to
the social needs of men. They
still views single fathers as a neg-
ative stigma and believe their role
is only to pay child support."
He complained that single
fathers often faced the courts
without legal advice and counsel,
which the association had been
"There are a number of fathers
who pay maintenance religiously
but do not want to see their child,
while there are fathers who want
to see their child but are unem-
ployed and can t afford to pay
the maintenance. This is the real-
ity of the situation we are faced
Monday, June 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Monday 22nd June 2015
Port of Spain
JENSEN LA VENDE
Relatives of a 55-year-old pedes-
trian who died after he was hit by
a car on the Uriah Butler Highway
yesterday say the driver was speed-
Police reports stated that Rooplal
Ramsumair, of Rodney Street,
Chaguanas, crossed two lanes of
traffic of the southbound carriageway
near Endeavour Road, but was fatally
hit as he attempted to cross the third
Angry relatives at the scene of the
accident said the driver thought he
was "at a rally" and asked why he
was not being arrested by officers.
Police said the driver of a blue
Subaru collided with Ramsumair
near the median separating the north
and southbound lanes.
While relatives were asking that
the driver of the car be arrested,
police officers were heard telling
them that it was not safe for anyone
to be crossing the highway.
Speaking to members of the media
at the scene yesterday, the driver of
the car, whose identity was not dis-
closed, said Ramsumair was in the
middle lane when he saw him.
"I was coming down the highway
in the right lane and he was in the
middle of the road. I spot him and
he just walked into my lane. I started
blowing my horn but he just start
spinning around and that is how I
end up hitting him on the right hand
side of the road," the driver said.
In an unrelated incident, a 34-
year-old Gasparillo man died while
being treated at the Sangre Grande
Hospital where he was taken minutes
after being rescued from the Valencia
Police reports said that Marlon
Ragoonath of Nadine Street was
bathing in the Valencia River with
relatives around 2.30 pm when he
got into difficulty. Relatives pulled
him out shortly after he went under.
He was taken to the hospital where
he died around 4 pm.
An autopsy will be done today to
confirm the cause of death.
Onlookers gather at the scene of the accident where Rooplal Ramsumair
was killed on the Uriah Butler Highway, Chaguanas, yesterday.
PHOTO: JENSEN LA VENDE
Road death, river
drowning mar weekend
Fresh hope for
Barman killed in crash PAGE A10
"What the court is
saying that the child is
deemed to be safe with
the father for only four
days of the month. The
biggest obstacle we
face is shared-
parenting. The courts
need to grant fathers
quality time with the
children. This is what
the judicial system and
legislators need to deal
with and introduce"
Association in T&T
...forum with Judiciary coming
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