While the average citizen sought shelter from Tropical Storm Matthew in the comfort of their homes, the homeless of Bridgetown were left to weather the storm on the sidewalks, streets or bus terminals in the island’s capital, complained an advocate for the homeless.
President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) Kemar Saffrey said he was “outraged” that the homeless were forced to endure such unfriendly conditions and no one in authority seemed to care.
“These people are hungry, these people are trembling, they are cold and there is nothing that no one is doing about it. They are just there on the street, shivering to death.” Saffrey charged.
When Barbados TODAY caught up with the BVHA boss, he was outside Parliament Building providing food and aid to those in need. He said he was “shocked” the authorities had not taken measures to get the homeless off the streets ahead of the bad weather.
“I don’t believe that a tropical depression is coming and we do not have an emergency system in place for the vagrant population of Barbados, and you are having people here on the street.
“I don’t believe that anything should be coming and people should be on the street at this time, fighting to see where they are going to be, and they can’t go anywhere obviously because of who they are,” he said.
Saffrey argued that the authorities needed to provide solace for the homeless, particularly when there are emergency situations like today’s storm.
“Something substantial should have been done about this and some sort of measures should have been put in place by Government. This is very hard for me to bear and to understand that in our 21st century we did not come up to put a shelter in place or that we didn’t look to do something or do much more . . .
“It’s ridiculous the amount of people who are on the street at this time. We should have had a system in place, should have had a bus system or open a part of the psychiatric or some abandoned building the Government could have given to the organisation for this time so that we could have actually set up for the homeless,” Saffrey asserted. (KK)