A 48-year-old mother of three who is down on her luck, is crying out for assistance from government welfare agencies.
Cyreline Weekes of the Ivy Housing Area told a team from Barbados TODAY, that before she fell ill with Lupus and Thrombosis in 2011 and was retired medically unfit, she worked at the National Assistance Board for five years.
She explained that since she was retired, she has been receiving an invalidity benefit from the National Insurance Scheme of $155 per week, but stressed that after she paid her electricity bill she did not have money to buy food. Furthermore, she pointed out that she has a 12-year-old daughter who attends The Lester Vaughan School but providing uniforms, and lunch presented a major challenge for her.
Weekes told the team that she was snubbed when she approached a member of the St. Michael East Constituency Council seeking assistance.
Claiming that when she approached the member of the Council with the payment of her electricity bill she was told to go and look for St. Michael East MP Trevor Prescod, the candidate she supported in the last general election, she expressed regret at having taken that route.
“I was sorry I approached that officer for assistance. I felt like a dog. She told me that she raised three children and she never begged the Welfare Department for anything. I will never ask her another question,” Weekes said.
She further told Barbados TODAY that she spoke to Director of the Department of Constituency Empowerment Kirk Humphrey who said: “If indeed what you say is true, she should not have said it. I will have to carry out an investigation of the matter.”
Humphrey told this newspaper however, that Weekes has benefitted from assistance given by the Welfare Department and the Constituency Council and pointed out that both agencies were presently processing requests she made.
That officer offered a “no comment” and pointed out that she has a legal opinion on the matter.
Weekes’ charged that since the February 21 General Election she seldom sees Prescod but this was dismissed out of hand by him when he was contacted.
The Parliamentary Representative said he has assisted Weekes and her household on many occasions and promised to meet with her when the Budget Debate ends.
”Up to last week when the Ivy HIV/AIDS Committee held a visual arts workshop at the Ivy Community Centre she was present and I interacted with her,” he asserted. He also said he provides her with foodstuff. (NC)