Thursday, February 29, 2024

Woman, 88, lived in deplorable conditions


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To the average passer-by, the well-appointed wall structure that Celestine Walkes has called home for many years is in pristine condition.

But inside is a totally different story.

The octogenarian’s Bird’s River, Deacon’s Road, St Michael home has a strong odour of mustiness, parts of the roofs are exposed, there is no electricity and it is termite and rodent infested.

There is also a soiled mattress on an equally soiled bed frame on which the 88-year-old sleeps; a kitchen not used in several years; a trail of trash; and a toilet overflowing with faeces.

Walkes has no children. Her only living sibling is a sister in her 90s. A brother who resided with her passed away a few years ago. His only child is said to frequent Barbados, but lives overseas.

Below, the squalid conditions of this kitchen have made it unusable for several years.


The WEEKEND NATION was alerted to the elderly woman’s living conditions by Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Michael North West, Neil Rowe, who expressed sadness and outrage by the woman’s state.

“I don’t think a lady at her age should be living in such inhumane conditions,” an upset Rowe said when he took the media on a visit to the home on Wednesday.

It is believed that the elderly woman, who is semi-mobile due to poor circulation in her left leg, has been living in such conditions since 2013. Over the past few years a neighbour, who asked for anonymity, has lent assistance to tend to the woman’s upkeep.

When contacted yesterday, St Michael North West representative Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB), Reverend Dr David Durant, visited the property.

Walkes received medical treatment and was taken to the Geriatric Hospital in Beckles Road, St Michael.

 Durant said that such cases like Walkes’ was falling through the cracks because they were being under-reported. He made an impassioned call to Barbadians to contact the NAB’s rapid response unit if they knew of any such situations in their communities.

Sinckler, who has been constituency representative since 2008, said it was unfortunate that the matter wasn’t reported but nonetheless, he was happy that the elderly woman would now receive intervention. 

“Barbadians are very shy about sharing their circumstances, especially if those circumstances are considered to be unfortunate, and would prefer not to ‘bother’ anybody and they keep it to themselves. But in those instances where people know that this exists they should notify the authorities immediately and they would come and deal with it.

“The National Assistance Board, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Care, Child Care Board; whether it is seniors or children we need to know of these situations,” Sinckler said. (SDB Media)


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