Dominica: Dr Irving McIntyre says Maintenance Act is a progressive and flexible legislation

Dr Irving McIntyre- Minister of Finance of Dominica referred to the Maintenance of Spouses and Parents bill (Maintenance Act 2023) as a very progressive and flexible bill for spouses and elderly people during the parliament session. 

Dominica: Dr Irving McIntyre says Maintenance Act is a progressive and flexible act
Dominica: Dr Irving McIntyre says Maintenance Act is a progressive and flexible act

Roseau, Dominica: Dr Irving McIntyre- Minister of Finance of Dominica referred to the Maintenance of Spouses and Parents bill (Maintenance Act 2023) as a very progressive and flexible bill for spouses and elderly people during the parliament session. 

He said that the comes on the hill that the amount of stuff that this government has been doing whether it’s the SDK program for parents and grandparents, whether it’s defensive benefits which are brought down to 65 years, and all the different housing interventions so they cater for the vulnerable.

Dr McIntyre said that the legislation now really just envelops the entire comprehensive approach that this government has for vulnerable less fortunate and particularly elderly people. He said that the policies come within the framework of all these areas that they are mentioning and everyone must also recognize the efforts of the Aegis Chambers out of the five bills they have as this is the only one that is done solely and primarily drafted by the 80s Chambers the others were done with the legal unit of the OECS commission but this one in particular has only been done with the Aegis Chambers.

“This bill also sends a message to the rest of society that government can do all that it can do but society has a part to play. It’s about setting a proper example and it’s about showing gratitude for our parents and our grandparents and just letting Society know that they also have to play a part regardless of the fact that the government is doing all that it can do but Society has to play part in also addressing such situations in society,” said the minister.

While mentioning the clause of the bill, McIntyre said that it’s very clear in clause three and clause four, and the bill really doesn’t attack the respondent or the dependent it’s very fair and very flexible in the sense that it uses the terms like necessary reasonable needs so if a suppose so to have some needs that are really extravagant in their lifestyle the bill will take care of that.

He said that this is because all these things have been considered when the court makes the decision in those needs and it also refers to cannot practically meet the whole or part of those needs so it’s not a matter of they just claiming something it will go through the system the court will obviously consider all those different things and decide whether they have a case to receive or not to receive.

Shedding light on bill, the minister said that Clause 4 says there’s no liability if the person remarries or if the person required with someone else so all those are part of the bill that actually Safeguard both the respondent and also, it’s safe but in the dependent so these are is really a forward-thinking Bill. He noted that the bill caters for both and which is really good in that sense.

In terms of maintaining the parents and grandparents, Dr Irving McIntyre said that the bill also talks about the capability of doing so and it has to be by certain reasons whether it’s the age, whether it’s the mentor of physical disabilities, etc and it’s not just a matter where people must do it like that everything has to be considered. He noted that even if it’s not a matter of a person cannot as a child, the bill also makes allowances and maintain for grandparents but it only meant it for grandparents if not all the children or the grandparents are not there whether it’s because of death, whether it’s because of physical or mental disability so all those things are captured within this bill.

He further highlighted that now some of the parents or grandparents maybe under the Cure and custody of our local Authority or government agency, the bill also provides that this local authority or the government agency can apply on behalf of this defendants so all those are covered because obviously, someone may be in under seen home somebody, someone else may have custody on care of the particular um parent or grandparent so they can actually apply on behalf of this parent or grandparent if they are staying in a local Authority or in a government thing.

“There are many considerations that the court has to give in this particular bill in the sense that they will assess whether the ability for somebody to begin fully employed because you might very well have a situation where a parent in a better situation than a child so the court actually makes allowances to review all of those different things and obviously let alone that if someone has to stay home to look after the child the ability to gainfully employed so there are so many things in this build that is being taken care of and is being considered before judgment is come by the court,” said the minister.

Dr McIntyre outlined that Clause 11 in this bill talks about the duration and stated that if someone were to win a lottery or someone not to inheritance and in a position or to cater for themselves then obviously the court can actually have a variation in the order or they can actually suspend Revenue or cancel the order and obviously likewise if at all the disability or whatever condition that the person is faced with is a permanent one then you can also say that the maintenance is for a lifetime.

He continued,” The Idea of someone trying to or if you end up in 14 days in areas and you haven’t paid obviously what can someone you have to explain why you haven’t done it and you might have to pay immediately and if you cannot pay immediately then there’s imprisonment. So there are so many different areas even the part of someone wanting to leave the state and if you haven’t put in place these certain measures that will for the maintenance you have to actually explain to the court and if the court is not pleased with your explanation you will not be allowed to leave the state. If you’re caught leaving the state that is where you can be fined five thousand dollars or six months imprisonment.”