Dec 28, 2015 News
By Enid Joaquin
Christmas day, the day that most people look forward to with excitement and eagerness, has come and gone.
Most people would have enjoyed the usual niceties associated with the season, such as the traditional pepperpot, blackcake, garlic pork and new curtains, among other things.
But there are some in our midst, for whom these things don’t come that easy.
They are our senior citizens and the disabled, who are some of the most vulnerable in our society.
While they are not complaining about Christmas, they all have one thing in common- the wish for a better New Year.
This reporter sat down for a little chit chat with a few of these special people.
Edna Smith, 87, resides in Christianburg.
Her greatest wish for the New Year is for LUSCSL to give her lights, for which her nephew Collis paid since December 15th.
Miss Edna also hopes that the government would do a little more for senior citizens in 2016.
As she was self employed her entire life, she does not receive NIS, so getting by on the pension has Miss Edna doing some “mathematical gymnastics”.
“The money is small- can’t do much, so I still have to hustle.
Hustling for her, is selling “bush” and a few fruits at the Wismar Market, to supplement her meagre income.
But her biggest challenge is the distance.
“I have to walk to the market every day, early in the mornings, then walk back home in the evenings.
As you know I have to walk with the aid of a stick- it is really hard on me, as I cannot afford to pay a taxi, out of the little money I make. And the distance is a long one. First, I used to sell by the riverside, which is not so far away, but then we were removed to the present location, which is double the distance, and no consideration was given to senior citizens, as to how it would affect them.”
Gavin Liverpool is not a senior citizen- as a matter of fact he is a young man at the prime of his life.
Unfortunately, he is bedridden as the result of an accident he suffered on the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge, a few years ago, while in the employ of Courtney Benn Contracting Services. His wish for the New Year is for the Company to remember him and “do something” for him.
Although he tries his best to remain cheerful and optimistic, there isn’t much for Gavin to look forward to daily, except enjoy the company of his family, and read his favorite newspaper- the Kaieteur News. As a matter of fact, he was doing just that when I visited.
Harvey Chase is a senior citizen who is blind, but he did not wish that he would regain his sight, for the New Year. His wish is a lot less complicated than that.
“All I’m hoping and wishing for is to get a place where I can be comfortable. Right now I’m very uncomfortable, because where I’m presently living, I am forced to inhale noxious fumes – I think people are doing this thing deliberately, because I cannot see, and they know it is affecting me; so I just want a new place, where I can be comfortable and happy.”
Eugenie Cobena is a naturalized Lindener who came to these shores in 1972. In spite of the fluctuating economic climate, this born St Lucian said that Linden is home, and even if she decides to go back to St. Lucia, it would only be for brief visits. Reflecting on Christmas, she said it was good.
“I can’t complain about Christmas, it was “pretty good”, thanks to the goodwill of a few persons including Bella (Businessman Beresford Harry) and his wife Simone.
I was so happy and totally surprised because I didn’t expect anything from anybody, except family.
But ‘Bella’ is a good man and he is blessed. I’m very thankful to him, at least I didn’t have to buy those things that they gave me, so it helped.”
Cobena’s New Year’s wish is for the Government to pay more attention to the welfare of senior citizens, by increasing their pensions and improving social services.
This year, businessman Beresford Harry distributed hampers to close to a hundred persons in Linden, including senior citizens and single parent households.
Harry said that it was his way of giving back to some of the people who have been supporting his business over the years.
He was assisted by his wife Simone and his staff in distributing the hampers.
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