Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2017 Contents news A9
Thursday, February 16, 2017 guardian.co.tt
The 85-year-old building
currently occupied by fire of-
ficers in Point Fortin is a her-
itage building and cannot be
demolished for rebuilding.
However, fire officers who
have moved their bunk beds
onto the pavement outside the
station to protest the dilapi-
dated state of the station will
be relocated by the end of the
The assurance comes from
acting Deputy Chief Fire Of-
ficer Kenny Gopaul, who told
the T&T Guardian the building
occupied by 50 officers has been
deemed unsafe for occupation.
It is structurally unsound and is
infested with rats and termites.
Gopaul admitted that the
officers have been making
to do their jobs. He
said the administra-
tion of the Fire Servic-
es and the Ministry of
National Security have
been actively looking for
an alternative building.
"We needed to find the
right space with the ca-
pacity to house the men,
the beds and equipment,
including the fire trucks,"
He said a building has been
identified at the old Trin-
toc compound and relocation
should happen before the end
of this month.
Gopaul said because the cur-
rent building cannot be demol-
ished a new fire station will be
constructed on a piece of land
just behind the existing struc-
"That will be a prefab unit,
so that will be done in the short
term," he said.
Gopaul said the plan is to
build a major station similar to
the Mayaro Fire Station with
multiple appliances and addi-
tional staff to service Pt Fortin
and surrounding communities.
That station will be built in this
"But bear in mind that a sta-
tion takes about a year to build,"
Commenting on the situation with
the San Fernando sub-station, Gopaul
said a site has been identified on Lady
Hailes Avenue for construction of a
new station at a cost of $50 million.
Notice has been served on a squatter
who built on the land.
"Since we served him notice he has
expanded the house. He will have to
move because that is govern-
ment land. It is more than likely
he will be relocated to some gov-
ernment housing area," he said.
There are young people with
gunshot wounds staying at some
geriatric homes as they have no-
where else to stay.
This was revealed yesterday by
Jacinta Bailey-Sobers, Permanent
Secretary of Social Development
and Family Services Ministry,
yesterday as she and officials of
her Ministry as well as the Health
Ministry appeared before a Parlia-
mentary Joint Select Committee.
The JSC headed by Dr Dhanayshar
Mahabir inquired into arrangements
and possible options for regulating
geriatric facilities/old age homes.
Mahabir said Bailey-Sobers' rev-
elation was another new aspect of
the matter. He also said when the
JSC team visited the St James geri-
atric facility, they saw some youths
Social Development's Director of
the Division of Aging Dr Jennifer
Rouse said there are 180,000 seniors
and 187 geriatric homes - with only
10 receiving subventions.
But despite these levels and in-
creased life expectancy for people
now, Ministry of Health Permanent
Secretary Richard Madray con-
firmed there is no qualified geriatri-
cian (specialist) on hand to provide
help for the Division of Aging.
"That's a little disturbing, I im-
agine this will be attended to," Ma-
Chief Medical Officer (Health) Dr
Roshan Parasram said no home has
been closed for geriatric abuse to
date. He said the Ministry of Health
gives homes five to seven days to
rectify issues and they have done so.
The Ministry's programme ad-
ministrator Beesham Seetaram
couldn't say if any abuse was en-
countered since the Ministry hadn't
evaluated geriatric homes.
Madray said no new audits had
been done on such homes - only
hospitals. But the first audit will
be done in March and this will test
the extent of collaboration between
Health and Social Development
Ministries on geriatric home man-
agement, he added.
Parasram said the Ministry's module on
the matter would include having health
inspectors being the "eyes in the field" to
monitor homes. The Ministry is also seeking
to formulate a draft by March on decentral-
ising geriatric care/facilities.
JSC members Christine Newallo-Hosein,
Esmond Forde and Ancil Antoine expressed
concern about conditions at the Couva
Home which they had visited. They
were told it didn't have an emer-
gency "panic button" since inmates
there were more able-bodied.
Parliament Committee told
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