Removal of vagrants “a huge problem” – Minister

first_imgAn inter-Ministry team is being established to remove vagrants from the environs of Parliament Building.This comes in light of the recent report that the Project Restore Guyana (PRG) is cash strapped, so the initiative to relocate vagrants has been put on hold. The Public Security Ministry was said to be seeking technical advice on the permanent removal of vagrants who currently “squat” around Parliament Building.Social Protection Minister Volda LawrencePublic Security Minister Khemraj RamjattanThe Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Tuesday as saying that the removal of such person posed “a huge problem” to the Guyana Police Force.“We have a huge problem there…when you start taking them and putting them in the lock-ups because we don’t really have space for them,” the Minister explained. Ramjattan observed that some vagrants would usually return to the area once released from holding cells.According to GINA, the Public Security Ministry is “part of a committee established by the Ministry of Social Protection to address the welfare management of the homeless, mentally challenged and addicted persons on the streets. The committee also includes representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Georgetown Mayor and City Council.”Ramjattan also observed that a half-way house needed to be constructed, with funds from the Social Protection Ministry.PRG is a multi-disciplinary task force that was set up by Government to address, among other social ills, the welfare management of the homeless and addicted, but financial constraints compelled the body to shelve plans for vagrancy removal.Head of the Secretariat of the task force, Dr Sewnath Ponalall told Guyana Times on Monday that the Project was faced with financial and human resources challenges in continuing its relocation programme. Dr Ponalall had observed that the biggest challenge was finding a building to assess the mental and physical status of vagrants to determine where and how to place them, whether it was in a hospital or a home.“Unfortunately, there is no such facility in this environ; we have looked into the availability of buildings, matter of fact, we have a register here with the Government buildings, but we did not find any fruitful building that we can use to facilitate our project because all of the Government buildings are either run down or occupied,” Dr Ponalall had noted.“If we can find money tomorrow from somewhere to invest in this direction, we will go forward…since the economy is not performing too well right now – gold prices gone down and sugar price gone down, we cannot expect the Government to spread out all over at this moment, but to maintain what is there already,” he had further pointed out.Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence had told this newspaper that the commencement of the evaluation process for street dwellers would begin as soon as a building was released by the Public Health Ministry, which was in collaboration with the Social Protection Ministry to carry out this programme. Minister Lawrence had disclosed that the purpose of the evaluation process for street dwellers was to assess the vagrants, then to determine the best facility for them.“The committee recently held a meeting where it was agreed that to swiftly tackle this issue, there needs to be an evaluation process to determine whether those street dwellers can be treated externally, placed in a home, or be referred to the National Psychiatric Hospital,” she had said.last_img read more

Read More →