Take in your father!
That was the advice from Chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB) Senator David Durant to Lenora Brooks, the daughter of centenarian Clement Whitstanley Holdipp, who lives next door in a termite-infested, wobbly shack that threatens to collapse at any moment.
Holdipp’s plight was highlighted in the September 9 edition of Barbados TODAY, the same day he celebrated his 100th birthday.
So bad were the condition of the wooden structure where the blind man has lived for many years, that his centenary celebration with Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave had to be held at his daughter’s residence.
At that time, his relatives had pleaded with the authorities to help the elderly man repair the house since, according to Brooks, he had refused to move in with her and she had spent what little she had to do some improvements to the property.
When Durant visited the centenarian yesterday he was at Brooks’ residence. The daughter said she had taken her father in because the rotting house could fall apart at any time.
But after touring the decrepit structure, Durant declared that Holdipp simply could not be moved back there, and told Brooks he hoped her father would spend his last days at her home.
“I came here to recommend, ‘let daddy stay with you because your home is there’. When I saw that he came there to have his birthday celebrations I thought, why doesn’t he stay there instead of being removed and carried back into that house which is in need of so much repairs?
“It is leaking, it is leaning, it’s dilapidated, it is eaten by termites. So I am glad that he is with his daughter now and that he can spend the rest of his life there,” the NAB chairman told Barbados TODAY.
Durant said he had visited the family with the intention of finding out more about their situation “because I believe in situations like these that families should be the first responders”.
He said every Barbadian should set out to assist their vulnerable loved ones instead of first calling on Government for help; and he stressed that the state could not do it all.
“He is an old man, he has children and I think that they should be the first responders. And even people in the community would be encouraged to help in such a situation and then the Constituency Council would come in and help as well. Failing all of those, then Government would come on board to give assistance where necessary. I think there should be stages of intervention,” he said.