Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2013 Contents HANGING AROUND
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Policy for treating
with geriatrics needed
As the child and care-giver of an 89
year-old mother who is inflicted with de-
mentia/Alzheimer's disease, I am con-
cerned about the lack of a specific
hospitalisation policy regarding geriatric
patients at the public heath institutions
About three years ago, I raised this
matter in a letter to the Health Ministry
and subsequently held an official conver-
sation with a MOH representative about
it. I expressed my unease with the policy
that only paediatric patients are allowed
close relatives to remain with them dur-
ing their stay at the hospital to assist
with their care.
The representative highlighted possi-
ble problems that could arise in imple-
menting such a policy. However, in my
view, those difficulties pale in compari-
son with the comfort that can be
brought to the hospitalised elderly, if the
policy is implemented.
My position was, and still is, that geri-
atric patients, especially those who are
physically and/or mentally challenged
should be afforded similar treatment to
that of paediatrics.
During an early morning visit to my
mother at one of the country's public
hospitals I observed food being placed
next to my mother with nobody realising
that she did not know what to do with it
until I pointed out that she had to be fed.
Only then was I allowed in to feed her.
Every day of her stay I had to become
involved in a negotiation to be allowed in
to feed her.
In addition, at the end of her hospitali-
sation period she was discharged with
an abysmal bed sore that took months
Why should I and others have to go
through situations like these when we
just want to care for our aged relatives?
A simple policy can address these prob-
lems. All that a concerned relative or
caregiver requires is a chair (he or she
can bring in their own according to hospi-
tal specifications) and the use of toilet
facilities at the hospital.
A policy such as I have described can
be effected quickly and achieve immedi-
ate wins for the Ministry.
Never, in all my involve-
ment in politics, have I
witnessed an election
campaign so full of inanity,
vacuousness, gutter rhetoric
and seething animosity as this
by-election of Chaguanas West.
The speakers of both the
UNC and ILP are guilty of the
descent into this political free-
for-all but moreso, the spokes-
men/women for the UNC led
by its political leader who is
not only the Prime Minister of
the country but the first female
One would have thought that
there would have been a femi-
nine touch of restraint, deco-
rum and dignity. In the process
she has squandered a great deal
of her credibility and lost face.
There appears to be despera-
tion in both camps but on the
UNC platform it is palpable
and all-consuming. As I noted
previously, the UNC would
largely rely on open and coded
appeals to ethnic loyalty for its
survival. This is now being
amply demonstrated in the
speeches of Kamla, Anand and
In addition, since Chaguanas
West is a constituency predom-
inantly populated by Hindus,
the appeal to Hindu sentiment
is forthright and unequivocal.
Hence, there is a surfeit of
prayers, piety and prostration at
the feet of those deemed to be
vested with influence over Hin-
But how the non-Hindu pop-
ulation both inside and outside
of Chaguanas West will view
these antics should be of con-
cern to the UNC. Kamla may
win the by-election but it
would be a pyrrhic victory.
In the aftermath, it would be
difficult to portray the Partner-
ship as a coalition with national
appeal across ethnic and reli-
Whatever the outcome, there
is an ominous portent in its
train for Kamla and the UNC,
more so with the solidification
of support for the ILP.
This year we spent a necessary
$22 billion to rescue the financial
sector. I believe that it is now equally
necessary to spend a similar amount
to rescue the social sector over the
next two decades.
There is a lot wrong with the be-
haviour of the people in the commu-
nities that require this bailout. They
have acted themselves into a posi-
tion of extreme social prejudice.
Workers from the social services,
public utilities, drivers of delivery ve-
hicles and even law enforcement of-
ficers are extremely uncomfortable
working in these communities.
Indeed in some instances they
have to be accompanied by armed
support. We must change this.
To accomplish this we must bring
about a dramatic change in the phys-
ical, spiritual, intellectual, social and
economic environment of these
communities. We must change the
mindset that views power being in a
hand gun, to seeing power in intellec-
We must create an intellect that
can recognise and embrace opportu-
nities for self-improvement.
Change must replace despair with
hope and the affinity to crime with a
positive attitude to industry, which
will lead to participation in a produc-
tive and prosperous society.
We must replace or convert the
drug lords who are now the leaders
of these communities.
This is a T&T problem. Everyone
must participate in this exercise. Pre-
vious efforts have been too dis-
jointed. Government must
implement a massive and well-co-or-
dinated plan that embraces all areas
of human development simultane-
A previous government had laid
out a plan for the physical develop-
ment of east Port-of Spain, but it
was never initiated.
The time has come to implement
such a plan. Forget temporary plas-
ters that have promoted "eat ah
food" mentality. This physical devel-
opment of the communities will re-
quire skilled labour.
Government must establish trade
centres to provide training for young
men and women in the skills neces-
sary to support the plan for the re-
construction of their communities.
Trained young men and women
will participate in rebuilding the com-
munities in which they and their chil-
dren will live.
The plan is long-term and mainte-
nance of a new physical infrastruc-
ture will be necessary, so the need
for skilled labour will exist for a long
while. This will address a major part
of the change that must take place.
The other aspects must start at
the same time. The religious leaders,
the social workers, the educators
and other life management organi-
sations must attend to this holistic
effort supported by a willing Govern-
ment. All of T&T must support this
bailout so that all of our citizens may
enjoy life and prosper to some ex-
tent in this land of ours.
R L Bartolo
Cumana Village, Toco
A little service
There is a leak coming
from underground be-
tween my boundary wall
and the sidewalk. I made a
report to WASA a week
ago and to date nothing
has happened as gallons of
water go down the drain.
Granted, WASA must be
very busy with all the re-
pairs around the country,
but I'm trying my best to
be accommodating to their
It is a problem to get
them on the phone again. I
get a recording that all cir-
cuits are busy. It's a pity
that leaking water cannot
be recycled especially as in
certain parts of Trinidad
people are begging for
water. WASA please call
CAMPAIGN SCRAPING THE BARREL
For whatever reason the Eleanore Street sign was attached on a no-entry
sign along the Southern Main Road, Chaguanas. The sign now barely hangs
on with piece of wire and it surely is a sign of the times when public
infrastructure is so poorly maintained. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
T&T's social sector must be rescued
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