“As a mental patient in this society, it does be real hard,” a man on a loitering charge told Magistrate Douglas Frederick in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court today.
“People does call yuh a madman and a lot of other things and they deny you the benefit of getting certain things in life,” Vincent DaCosta Forde added.
Forde, of no fixed place of abode, had just admitted to the court that he was loitering on Sunday at a George Street, Belleville, St Michael building and could not give police a satisfactory account for being there.
According to the police, it was
around 1 a.m. when police on patrol saw Forde emerge from behind the Belleville Auto Spares building, wearing dark clothes and carrying a haversack.
When they questioned him, Forde told police at the scene that he and his family recently had a disagreement and he was just looking for someplace to “rest his head”.
He was wearing three shirts and four pants at the time.
Speaking to the court today, Forde said he had just returned home last week but he and his nephew had a fight and he was asked to leave.
He explained that as it was “shameful to have to leave with your things during the day”, he moved with them that night.
Asked by the magistrate where he sleeps when he is not at his family home, Forde responded: “It ain’t easy but sometimes in a tunnel or a secluded building.”
Forde also told the magistrate he sells fruits when he can and had made efforts to get assistance from the Welfare Department but had no idea whether a cheque ever came for him.
He added that he had tried “the Vagrant Society place” as well.
“But I was raised by a very strict sister who taught me even if people look down on yuh, don’t let them take away yuh pride,” Forde remarked.
Asked by the court whether he had ever
been seen at the Psychiatric Hospital, Forde said he has been an outpatient there for over nine years.
The last time he went, Forde said, the guard called “all down in number 80-something and I had number 30-something”. As a result, he left without getting any medication.
Forde, whose three priors were also for loitering, was remanded to the Psychiatric Hospital until May 3.
Frederick said by this time social services should be available to offer some assistance.