homeless

A socially displaced man sits at the entrance to Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church, on Harris Promenade, San Fernando, yesterday. On Sunday Catholics celebrated Palm Sunday, but due to the Government’s stay-at-home order, issued last week, all Churches have remained closed to the public. This week Roman Catholics will observe Holy Week, and Good Friday will be celebrated at the end of the week. 

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello has "turned a blind eye" to the feeding of the socially displaced outside of the designated area, in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past, the Mayor had repeatedly appealed to citizens to refrain from providing meals to the homeless while they were away from the Centre for the Socially Displaced at King’s Wharf, San Fernando.

Speaking on Thursday at the San Fernando City Corporation’s briefing on Covid-19 he said, “This is unprecedented times and around this time there must be a level of flexibility. Last Sunday I saw a vehicle pull up and was feeding the homeless and I turned a blind eye to that in the situation, based on where we are."

Regrello added that a take-away service was being operated at the Centre. “Our vehicles go around and pick them up, one or two persons per vehicle and take them down and they do a take away service.”

The Mayor said a proposal had been sent to the Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Camille Robinson-Regis to make the centre a 24-hour service “where the homeless persons can be housed as live-in residents.”

He said, “The NGO who operates there was required to do a proposal that was sent in last week. It will take a while because we're talking about having professionals operating 24 hours with a two shift system and also making the facility adequate to have people sleeping over and the gender situation with male and female.”

The Mayor also expanded about the Central Market in San Fernando saying that the recent sanitization had encouraged people to return to the facility. “Over the past couple of years the Marabella Market became more popular and the crowds have been dwindling in Central Market in San Fernando. What we have done is addressed those issues, people can now feel safe to come back … What I’m seeing outside there on social media people are now saying they feel safe, they feel like they could walk through the market now, the market is looking more sanitary.”

He added that there is going to be a facelift at the market with it being painted and rotted stalls being replaced. He also said a storage facility was being considered to prevent rodents or cockroaches from reaching the perishable products.

In the past the vendors raised issue about the convenience of storing their goods overnight at the market. Regrello said it is now being allowed from Fridays to Sundays. “So we have been flexible in our decisions making in terms of understanding their situation. The objective is really to ensure that our citizens are protected. We have an excellent window at this time, given to us through Covid-19, to address all those issues pertaining to health hazard and protecting our citizens. We have been visiting these institutions and seeing what can be done and how we can improve on our operations and ensuring a healthy lifestyle for our folks.”

Deputy Mayor Feri Hosein and chairperson for public health has urged citizens to heed the ntional guidelines recommended by the Government to curb the spread of Covid-19

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