Police and welfare authorities have been called in to investigate another alleged case of elderly abuse.
However, the caregiver at the centre of the latest report Monday gave her personal assurance that this was not the case, while accusing at least two female members of the elderly man’s family of having an ulterior motive and of concocting stories of abuse.
Chairman of the National Assistance Board Senator David Durant today confirmed that the board had received complaints and had launched a full investigation to determine whether Goddard Barnes, who is in his 70s and lives at Friendship Terrace, St Michael had suffered any abuse at the hands of his caregiver Elizabeth Watts.
Barbados TODAY understands that police and NAB officials visited the home where Watts lives last week after neighbours complained that the elderly man had been a victim of physical abuse.
Earlier Monday one such neighbour contacted Barbados TODAY to complain that “during the day Barnes is chained to chair and cannot accept any visitors”. The neighbour further alleged that the abuse started after Barnes’ wife passed away. It was then, the woman said, the hired help moved in, adding that Barnes’ physical condition had deteriorated since then.
“He used to walk upright, now he does walk with a stick,” she complained.
Insisting that he was a victim of abuse, the concerned neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said: “He don’t deserve to be treated so.”
The Friendship resident, who is familiar with the situation in the Barnes household, also pointed out that a girl, who was said to be no older than ten-years-old, also lives in the home witnessing all the abuse and was herself a victim of verbal abused.
However, when a team from Barbados TODAY visited Barnes’ home Monday evening, the elderly man was seen walking around without assistance and appeared to be active.
When questioned by Barbados TODAY, Watts also painted a very different picture of the current state of affairs, while levelling allegations of her own.
In fact she charged that it was a female family member of Barnes’ who was behind the recent complaints made against her, one who she said was “only interested in his cheque”.
However, Watts, who is a taxi driver by profession, said she came to know Barnes “by doing a job for him and at his request, she was asked to come back and take care of him”.
An emotional Watts also told Barbados TODAY that far from wanting to hurt the elderly man, she was the one who had come to his rescue after he had suffered a heart attack one night and was subsequently given power of attorney for Barnes.
“He ask me to move in with him,” she said.
Her anger quickly turned to frustration, as she charged that she was being foisted in the middle of a family dispute over the elderly man’s estate and involving relatives who she said were not lifting a finger to help the aging relative.
“[She] never offer him a glass of water or wash a shirt for him,” Watts said.
While pleading with the man’s relatives to stop making the allegations, she said, “It’s a waste of time [because] the gentleman who the allegations are of, is in his right mind and in his right senses.
“I is the only person who takes care of him. His daughter came in from overseas when he came out of the hospital, he messed himself up and you would think as his daughter she would change him, no she did not.
“He called her on the cellphone to tell her that he had dirtied himself and all the daughter was interested in was the cheque,” she continued.
“The first thing they [family members] does be asking him, Where the money is?” a visibly upset Watts added.
When Barnes was asked if he was being abused he said, “no” without hesitation.
Watts added: “If I was a bad person he wouldn’t be where with me. They [the authorities] would have done remove him,” she stressed.