Minister alarmed at attacks on elderly

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The Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs is finding difficulty in accepting that three elderly people have been brutally killed in less than one month.

In the wake of 74-year-old Douglas Barker dying after a vicious cutlass attack at his Walkes Spring, St Thomas home last night, Forde told members of the media this morning that she has a tremendous difficulty, and was feeling disturbed, with what has been happening in society, where the elderly are being abused in this manner.

“I too am concerned about it, and the rest of Barbados is. I pray that when people go into their houses at night, they will secure themselves properly and that the perpetrators be the ones who will turn their lives around and seek the Lord and remember that they too have grandparents, parents, children and others that they would not like anybody to brutalize, or disfigure.

“But we know there is this violence across the world. It is permeating Barbados as it is in other countries in the region. And I pray that God would continue to bless the family in these moments of grief. And as I said earlier, not only the family of the deceased but the family of the perpetrator, because at the end of the day, almost everybody is family to each other in Barbados and we need to value human life in a different way,” she said.

The Minister alluded to the fact that abuse of the elderly goes beyond the brutality that is being seen, as some of them are also being financially abused and abandoned.

“Only yesterday morning I heard of two that I have got to report to the National Assistance Board and I told the lady call the police and then the officer can call me, and we will try to institute measures to make sure that those senior citizens enjoy the rest of their lives in their twilight years, with a measure of peace and comfort . . .” Forde said.

The St Thomas Member of Parliament also noted that her ministry has been seeking to address the issue of elder abuse, through the implementation of relevant policies and programmes. She said the ministry has also asked for additional funding in the 2019 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, to be able to ensure that the needs of the elderly are thoroughly met.

“As we go forward, we pray that all persons in Barbados would look out for each other. No longer are you getting the neighbour looking after another neighbour. The other thing is that people have so much information and they want to share it sometimes, but they do not know with whom to speak, for fear that there would be reprisals. As long as they are identified they are called snitches,” she said.

On January 22, American educator, 68-year-old Dr Sarah Sutrina, who was a lecturer at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, was discovered at Northumberland, St Lucy next to her vehicle with wounds about her body.

Hours before Dr Surtina was discovered, 69-year-old Martha Doyle, was killed at Vauxhall Senior Citizens’ Village, Christ Church on Monday January 21. Doyle was reportedly stabbed to death.

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