By Latrishka Thomas
“Education; that should be the focus for a 15-year-old. Trying to finish high school, trying to get the CXCs then move on to University; that is what should be encouraged.”
Those the words were spoken by the Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Mary-Claire Hurst as she made her remarks on the Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2019 which was subsequently passed in the Upper House.
The minimum age of marriage in Antigua and Barbuda is currently 15 years. Under the Marriage Act 1994, parties aged 15 to 18 may marry with the consent of their parents but the Marriage Amendment Bill 2019, has raised the minimum age at which two persons can be legally married in Antigua and Barbuda to 18 years.
Although child marriages are not prevalent in the twin island state, the Leader of Government Business, Senator Hurst, stressed the importance of the amendment saying, “You cannot be employed until you are 16 but you can get married at 15. You cannot give sexual consent [until you are 16] but you can get married at 15. There is something about it that we needed to address and this is the situation in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Majority Senator Shenella Govia also shared similar sentiments as she expressed the need to be proactive.
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