Scatter shot cop - Dead policeman's 25 children must prove paternity
Twenty-five children allegedly fathered by a single policeman, who died at age 47, are in a race against time to prove their paternity in order to access their dead dad's estate.
The cop did not leave a will and some of his children could be denied their share of the estate he left behind.
Deputy Administrator General Andrew Gyles last week shied away from providing details of the case, but he told Gleaner editors and reporters that at least 17 of the children who claim the policeman is their father may have to prove the paternity before the Administrator General's Department (AGD) will be able give them any portion of his estate.
Paternity tests needed
"Those verifications must be done before the children are 18 years old or they may be barred from benefiting," said Gyles, as he noted that this is one of the complicated portfolios that the staff at the AGD has to deal with.
"We probably have eight of them with their father's name and the other 17 not having their father's name," said Gyles following a Gleaner Editors' Forum.
"We tell all of them to do a paternity test. If there is property in the estate we wouldn't be able to distribute when all of them are 18, and probably by that time only five out of the 17 are proven.
"I don't think they will benefit eventually," admitted Gyles.
"We are giving them three years to prove paternity, and maybe they won't. We will probably have to get the others to sign an indemnity that indemnifies us against distribution, having distributed to the proven beneficiaries," added Gyles.
The names of thousands of fathers are missing from their children's birth certificates each year, and according to Gyles, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) make up a large portion of those numbers.
Gyles said the issue involving members of the JCF is compounded by the fact that public education campaigns aimed at them are seemingly falling on deaf ears, as hundreds of cases involving cops are being stalled because of the AGD's inability to prove paternity.
"We can only distribute funds to proven beneficiaries. That is why it is so important to get the father's name on the birth certificate. This proves it right away and the children can benefit right away from the estate."
Gyles noted that children whose paternity is in dispute could lose the benefits they may be entitled to even before the reach 18 years old.
In May, National Security Minister Robert Montague urged members of the JCF to wear condoms if they are not ready to take care of their children.
"If you cannot maintain the results of your relationships, wrap it up. Too many officers are in court for maintenance orders," said Montague, who was addressing the 73rd Annual Joint Central Conference of the Jamaica Police Federation.