Proposal for paternity tests at birth riddled with issues - Gayle

Dr. Herbert Gayle
There have been negative reactions from the academic community to a proposal by Member of Parliament for St. James Central Heroy Clarke for paternity tests to be done at birth.
Social Anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle believes the proposal in its current form is riddled with problems and could lead to even more violence against women.
In his contribution to the State of Constituency Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Mr. Clarke made the proposal as a means of addressing the problem of domestic violence, particularly against women.
But Dr. Gayle argues that this is an expensive venture which will not solve the issue. 
"If you are going to mandate DNA (tests) at birth, somebody has to pay for it. And I've sat with government, not in Jamaica this time, and I said to them, ‘How much money is that?’ and they told me. And I said to them, ‘If you were to hand that to poor mothers, would you not have a more stable society than if you chase your patriarchal frontier?’" 
"When people are in poverty, they sit down and they make a decision not based on morals but based on rationale - ‘How do I make sure this child survives?’. And therefore, if you want to solve paternity fraud, you have to solve poverty. No country at all with high levels of income have these problems. It's an indicator of poverty. So why skirt around solving poverty and attack women?" he questioned.   
Apart from the cost of initiative, Dr. Gayle contended that Mr. Clarke's proposal for paternity tests ignores the root of the problem of domestic violence. 
He suggested that embedded in the push for legislation to prevent instances of domestic violence is the acknowledgment or assumption that "people are going to act violently when they discover that a child is a ‘jacket’".
As a result, he said any such law would in fact "create more mayhem" and increase violence against women since these discoveries are likely to be more widespread if tests are legislated.  

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