Four years ago, popular Jamaican radio disc jockey DJ Linkage was devastated when he got a letter from a DNA agency informing him that the two kids he had fathered with two Jamaican women were not his biological children.
The disc jockey had migrated to the US several years ago. He was filing for his two children aged nine and seven when the results of the paternity testing for the immigration-related application showed that the children were not his biological children.
“At the time, I was devastated, mi did mash-up, not even one of them was mine, mi was shocked out of my wits, mi get two ‘jackets’. I didn’t believe Jamaican women could be so wicked,” he said.
‘Jacket’, is the Jamaican colloquial term used to describe paternity fraud, misattributed paternity, or paternal discrepancy. This occurs when a man is incorrectly identified to be the biological father of a child. The underlying assumption of paternity fraud is that the mother deliberately misidentified the biological father.
At the time, Linkage said he had spent close to US$300,000 on both his children since their birth. One of the kids, a nine-year-old girl, had a learning disability while the other was a boy.
Fast forward almost four years, and DJ Linkage has set aside the caustic knowledge that he is not the biological father and set about the business of raising the children.
“They are mine. Both of them called me on Father’s Day to bless me up. My daughter is now aware that I am not her biological father, but she overlooks that, the whole thing has made me and her even closer. She no hide nothing from me, we talk everyday. But I haven’t had a conversation with my son yet because he is more delicate, he won’t want to hear that, and he won’t understand,” DJ Linkage explained.
He said that the mother of the boy has apologised for deceiving him.
“The mother of my son apologised to me about it, the mother of my daughter has not apologised, she is in denial. I never stopped loving the children, nothing no change, ah the same love,” he said.
Linkage revealed that he also had to seek counselling to deal with the psychological issues caused by the betrayal.
“Mi kinda good right now, I did therapy for years to get strategies on how to deal with the situation. I forgave both mothers, it is the only way you can go through this trauma, you have to be able to forgive,” he stated.
He shared that he has four other children, but has not done any DNA tests because they “look like him”.
“There is no need to go through that trauma,” he said, laughing.
“I never stopped loving the children, nothing no change, ah the same love.”DJ Linkage
“The whole issue shows that you don’t have to be a biological father to be a dad. Some men would be glad to get out of a situation like mine where he is sure he was deceived and say ‘good riddance’ but not me. I believe that if it is your kid, is your kid and it done, if you actually de from birth, so ah your kid,” he added.
DNA tests are required by the US Embassy in Kingston as a vital part of its immigrant visa process.
Dr Herbert Gayle, leading anthropologist at The University of the West Indies, revealed in a 2016 study that some 25 per cent of Jamaican men are unknowingly raising children who are not biologically theirs. While a 2019 report by Polygenics Consulting, a DNA testing company, indicated that of all the paternity tests that the company has conducted since 2015, when it became operational, 70 per cent were not the father (CNW Network, 1 November 2019).