On the heels of the tragic death of 81-year-old Inez Mabel Fields who lived alone at Newbury, St George, Minister of Elder Affairs and People Empowerment Cynthia Forde is urging senior citizens to refrain from using kerosene oil lamps.
Noting that she was waiting on word regarding the source of the blaze that killed Fields in the wee hours of last Saturday morning, Forde told Barbados TODAY that relatives and caretakers need to play their role in ensuring that elderly folks do not use oil lamps nor candles in the house.
“Sometimes the candle would be burning, a gust of wind would blow and the curtains are blowing on the candle. And when that happens there is a fire in the house and you can’t get out.
“When a tragedy like that occurs, you panic and you can’t even get the door unlocked if you have the key in your hand. I would advise all seniors to make sure the gas bottle head is taken off when they are not using it and make sure there are no candles burning ,” Forde said.
Fields’ only child Anderson told Barbados TODAY that he had made several attempts to stop his mother from using the kerosene lamp. The grieving son, like Forde, is also waiting on word from officials on the possible cause of the blaze.
Meanwhile, the St Thomas Member of Parliament said she believed it was time Barbadians truly become their brother’s keeper once again, noting that it was time to get back to the love and kindness that permeated society in the 1900’s.
She said there were too many instances where people, particularly the elderly and disabled, are living alone with hardly anyone checking in on them daily.
“I am asking that Barbadians make a special effort to at least say hello and look out for your neighbour, whether old or young because these are strange times. There was no comfort for me when that grandmother and the child were found days after in their house and their bodies decomposing.
“So I am imploring Barbadians to reach out and touch because none of us knows when the day will come when we too will become old and when we do we may come down with some kind of dementia or disease when we would need that kind of help,” she said.
The Minister suggested that unless Barbadians return to the culture where neighbours look out for each other, then we would not succeed in achieving a people first society.
“We owe it to ourselves and the pride that our foreparents developed for us, to be able to say that we are a proud people who love and care for ourselves in the same way that we do for our neighbours. And the Bible tells us to love thy neighbour as thy self and do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” she said. [email protected]