All the persons who were rounded up from the streets of Georgetown and bundled off to the National Psychiatric Hospital in Fort Canje, Berbice during the latter part of 2010, have all escaped.
They are back on the streets of the capital and elsewhere, doing whatever they did best.
Their detention was part of the government’s expedition to rid the streets of unwanted persons.
This latest scenario is a crude indication that the government-initiated programme to rid the street of homeless and suspected psychiatric persons, especially whenever there is an international event in Georgetown, has not worked.
The situation came to a head last November when one of those picked up and taken to the Fort Canje institution died by drowning in the Canje River while trying to escape from the institution.
Dwayne Vieira, of 28 Holmes Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, who went missing from his Georgetown home on November 24, last, was brought to the NPH the following day.
Reports were that the man had tried to get away from the institution in his bid to reach his home.
A source at the institution had stated that the man, from the time of his detention, kept saying that he was no mad man, that he was from Georgetown and that he will have to get back at all cost.
Vieira’s lifeless body was fished out of the Canje River on Monday December 4 and remained unidentified until personnel form the National Psychiatric Hospital turned up and identified the body as that of one of 25 persons (both male and female) who were rounded up in Georgetown and bundled off to the National Psychiatric Hospital.
They also explained that it was part of the government’s effort to rid the streets of mentally ill and destitute persons before the UNASUR summit.
Now a few months later all the captured have literally walked out of the institution and are back on the streets of Georgetown.
Sources at the NPH had stated that the government would usually pick up people and just dump them at the hospital.
“Whenever there is a big activity in Georgetown they would just pick these people up and dump them here, overcrowding the institution and making it unsafe to work”. The source stated that many of these are not mentally ill and are not screened or tested before they are dumped “here”. “It is not safe at all,” one staff member said.
Vieira’s mother, Jennifer Sobers, and other relatives had missed the now dead Dwayne on Wednesday November 24.
The woman recalled that her son had left home around 18:00hrs as he would usually do. He would go out and do jobs around the neighbourhood and return home around 21:00 hrs.
She said that when she woke the following morning she did not see her son and made enquiries. She made a missing person report and visited the Brickdam Police Station and the hospital.
The woman had stated that her son was no mad man. My son was not sick, why they did this to him? He knew his name, his address, his phone number and all his relatives, so why didn’t they make contact with his relatives?” She had cried then.
She had promised to see all the relevant persons, including the Commissioner of Police, all the Ministers, The Prime Minister and President, the United Nations and the Human Rights Association to get justice.
“I will picket the President if I have to do that.”
The officials are questioning the absence of the half way house that was supposed to be constructed for the destitute and the homeless people.
They also lamented the lack of a proper programme to treat such persons.
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