Saturday, April 20, 2024

IT MATTERS TO MARIA: No place to call home


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It’s a sight Barbadians would be shocked to see – a white woman living on local streets and sleeping among vagrants.

But that is the situation in which Amanda Bradley Miller, a British citizen, has found herself for the past three weeks.

While not destitute, the 59-year-old retiree, who has been living here for close to eight years, is homeless and sleeping at night on the concrete floor at the Speightstown Esplanade with four homeless men.

She also bathes in a nearby public bathroom and is reduced to begging for meals.

Miller is blaming three Barbadian men for her predicament and the justice system for failing to help her.

“I’ve been physically and sexually abused and I’ve been taken advantage of by three men who owe me lots of money,” the slim, blonde-haired woman said when she came to this newspaper’s offices this week to highlight her plight.

Seven-and-a-half years ago, Miller left the cold of Britain where she worked as a masseuse and came to Barbados on holiday because of its year-round warm weather. She said she fell in love with a Barbadian and was married a year later.

“I married for love,” Miller said, pointing out that her wedding bliss was shortlived.

Two years later, after spending thousands of dollars refurbishing the house where she was living, she was forced to leave it when she came home one day and found it empty.

“All of my possessions were gone. I was left with nothing.”

Miller said that she had been fighting to recover her possessions which she values at $10 000. She also loaned $17 000 to another man with whom she was romantically involved and $2 000 to a third man.

“I got them to sign letters that they would pay me back and both of them are refusing to give me my money,” she complained, pointing out that her attorney was dealing with those matters.

As to her being homeless, Miller said for the past year she has been living from house to house.

“I have lived in 14 different houses. I have lived in St James, Christ Church, St John, you name it. I have stayed with complete strangers because I have no money. I just go and ask people if they could take me in.”

The last place she lived was with a family in St Peter for six weeks.

“I was giving them money and buying food for the home. I came home one day and my clothes were on the step and the old lady told me that she heard I was bad talking their name so I would have to leave.”

With nowhere to go, Miller said she left the bags with her clothes on the step and started sleeping in the Esplanade.

“I shouldn’t be living like this but nobody wants to rent me a house because I am homeless,” Miller said, adding, that she receives income of $500 every month from her pension in Britain and $600 from a local court as payment in a lawsuit.

She said she had also reached out to prominent Britons here but was spurned.

It is hard for this once vibrant woman, who drove a jeep and lived a comfortable life, to accept her present circumstances. She explained that she had no children and her only sibling, who was a millionaire, had also refused to help her.

On Wednesday, she was dealt another blow when someone stole her handbag containing her passport, bank cards, money and other important documents at the Esplanade.

“All I want is for someone to rent me a house but I am not leaving Barbados until I get back my money and my belongings,” she vowed.


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