The 88-year-old woman who Tuesday was thrown onto the street when marshals, armed with a court order, tore down her house at Kendal Hill, Christ Church, has found a temporary home.
The National Assistance Board (NAB) has come to the rescue of Edmunda Gittens and her mentally challenged son, NAB Chairman David Durant has revealed.
Durant told Barbados TODAY Wednesday afternoon that as of Tuesday, the mother and son were placed in an apartment which is being paid for by the state.
In addition, Gittens will receive home care for five days a week, also paid for by the public purse.
“We want the public to know that we found an apartment for her and she is in that apartment now with her son because it would have been difficult to get the son from there because he is mentally challenged. The furniture that was good is also there with her and the NAB is going to provide home care for her to look after her because she is in pampers at the moment,” Durant said, without disclosing the address.
As for the elderly woman’s long-term housing needs, Durant revealed that a parcel of land has been leased in St George, upon which the Urban Development Commission would erect a two-bedroom accommodation for Gittens and her son.
However, the Government Senator expressed shock and dismay that none of Gittens’ six other children seemed willing to look after their mother, but were content to instead place the burden at the feet of the state.
“What I really disappointed in is the irresponsible attitude of family members and that is a source of discouragement to me because a country is judged by the way it treats its elderly, children and differently abled. Those are three vulnerable groups in our midst. The treatment meted out to them in Barbados is not the best at all. Too many families are depending on Government and that shouldn’t be,” the NAB chairman said.
Tuesday, Gittens’ daughter Juliette Walters was unwilling to discuss the issue of the failure of the octogenarian’s children to take her in.
Nonetheless, she had charged that Member of Parliament Stephen Lashley had failed to respond to pleas for help made on her mother’s behalf six months ago.
“I made some calls to him since last October but nobody has responded. So this is where it is at right now, and she doesn’t have anywhere to go now. So we trying to see if we could find some place to put her up,” Walters had said.
However, Lashley told Barbados TODAY that his office had indeed been making arrangements for the past six months, and that it was as a result of this effort that the situation was speedily resolved.
“There was intervention done by me through the Ministry of Social Care, and as a result of that, that is why the Chairman of the National Assistance Board, Reverend Durant, was deployed to the scene and my personal assistant was also there to feedback what was going on. So it was not a case that she was ever in danger of living on the street,” Lashley explained.