Child maintenance payments stalled by go-slow at Magistrates Court

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Parents seeking to collect child maintenance funds and access other services at  St. John’s Magistrates Court are venting frustration over the go-slow staged by staff.
A source at the court told OBSERVER media that the action began on Tuesday with the cashiers.
OBSERVER media received several complaints from affected residents who say they have been turned away more than once when they went to receive payment made for child support.
“I am a single parent and thus my child is being fed through the court and for the month thus far I have not been able to get child maintenance money because the court’s employees are on strike,” one parent wrote.
“The Magistrates Court has been on strike all week and no service whatsoever is being offered to the general public; services like obtaining child maintenance cheques, etc. I have been to the St. John’s Magistrates Court three days this week only to be told they are closed to the general public,” the parent added.
The workers are protesting conditions created by a malfunctioning air conditioning unit that is leaking, as well as a rat infestation.
The workers told our newsroom that they have been writing numerous letters for months now, but are yet to get relief.
They reported that both the Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh and Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, who are responsible for the court, are overseas.
The cashiers have only been accepting payment for bail.
The go-slow has been impacting those trying to access services at the High and Temple streets location, specifically mothers and guardians who have been going back and forth this week for child maintenance.
One woman said that she has been to the court all week only to be turned away empty-handed and no one is answering the listed telephone numbers at the court.
“Single parents like myself, who collect child support payments through the courts, are now unable to do so due to actions taken by the Magistrates Court staff. Now, I try to be reasonable and understand that the working conditions are not acceptable, but, this close to Christmas – what will some parents do? While I have a support system and a job, some are not as fortunate,” the parent said.

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