Give us a hand

Elderly St John couple living in deplorable conditions, pleads for help

For over 15 years Wilson and Louise Yearwood have been living in a crumbling, dilapidated house in Clifton Hall, St John.

The one bedroom, wooden house barely stands at the edge of the Clifton Hall slope, overlooking the breath-taking crystal blue waters of Martins Bay, St John.

However, the view inside the Yearwood home is more shocking. The roof of the Government-owned structure is littered with gaping holes and is in desperate need of repair, with rusting galvanize and terrible leaks.

In the kitchen, Wilson has constructed a makeshift tap on top of a self-made wooden countertop, and next to it is a rusting unusable stove. Barely able to afford their necessities on his medically unfit cheques and his wife’s pension, the 66-year-old pleaded for assistance.

The roof of Wilson Yearwood’s Clifton Hall, St John home is buckling in.

“Somebody went here two years ago from Rural Development [Commission], they told us they would do the house but up to this present moment they have not come back,” remarked the former employee of Clifton Hall Plantation.

Wilson said after his attempts to contact the RDC proved futile, he turned to Member of Parliament for St John Mara Thompson, who informed the elderly couple that Government simply did not have the funds.

“Before the last election she told me as soon as she gets in the House  . . . she will help with the house and she didn’t help with it. Up to the last time I called she said the Government doesn’t have no money, they can’t help,” Wilson recalled.

A view of the couple’s dilapidated kitchen.

After undergoing his surgery in 1983 for a condition he did not disclose, Wilson had been unable to work, relying on financial assistance from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and for a very long time, emotional and physical support from his wife.

However, the 75-year-old Louise, who was once the breadwinner of the family, is now ailing with Alzheimer’s disease and Wilson has become his wife’s caretaker.

“I can’t leave home to go anywhere; she can’t walk anywhere because she would walk away,” Wilson told Barbados TODAY.

As Wilson gave the team a tour of his home, the dirty floors revealed evidence of rodents, and buckets were placed throughout the home in a desperate attempt to catch water leaking through the roof that was supposed to help keep the family dry.

Sixty-six-year-old Wilson Yearwood and his 75-year-old wife Louise are appealing for help.

Despite her ailment, Louise revealed that whenever it rains heavily, the small wooden structure becomes flooded and can take up two days for the water to subside.

She added that the rodents had virtually taken over the house, at which point Wilson said, “They have all our clothes destroyed. At night I have to run them all from in here, and they like they know better than me or you.”

What was most disconcerting for the elderly couple was the lack of safety, as the windows in their bedroom and living room were constantly falling out.

“It has me really worried . . . I’m scared at night. How things are, you have to be careful,” he said.

The elderly couple said they have a middle aged daughter, but they have to look after themselves because she is unable to assist them.

Ideally, they would prefer to lean on each other, their physical and financial constraints notwithstanding. However, their penury does not deter Wilson, who is seeking to provide a more user-friendly home for his ailing wife.

“When I was sick [Louise] dealt with me, when I had my operation she was the only person I had, so I have to do right by her,” he said.

42 Responses to Give us a hand

  1. Cynthia Blackman
    Cynthia Blackman March 2, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Have a Heart. !!!

  2. Ashlie
    Ashlie 'Ashez' Blenman March 3, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Mara where u at ppl need help have a heart

  3. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince March 3, 2017 at 12:12 am

    This is ridiculous… these people…..start a fund….geez!!!

  4. Paulette Noel
    Paulette Noel March 3, 2017 at 12:12 am

    I bet wunna going still vote she back in. Mara you really don’t have a heart tho. How can u leave your ppl to suffer like that. Shame on you

    • Jennifer March 3, 2017 at 1:12 am

      Not only Mara, this is a problem all over Barbados. Just because other cases have not reached the papers as yet.

  5. Lisa Skeete
    Lisa Skeete March 3, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Deplorable situation …and I don’t mean just the house

  6. Linda Annie Parris Hoyte March 3, 2017 at 12:52 am

    I donot reside in Barbados but I keep up date about whats going on there and it is really sad for anyone to be living in such conditions I have to place blame on both DLP AND BLP both parties were ruling at some point so be smart about what you say when it comes to politics .

  7. Ernesta Catlyn March 3, 2017 at 5:48 am

    This is not about government not having money this is about lack of will. Persons are still getting help in this country from UDC, RDC, NHC and the welfare department. If the Parliamentary rep really wanted to assist them she would find a way. Apart from gov’t entities, in her capacity, she can garner the relevant support. Lack of will is what it is

  8. Thomas Browne March 3, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Shocking and much more common across Barbados that we know or more to the point…wish to believe. Which ever party ‘takes control’ in 2018, needs to have poverty eleviation and social care high on thier agenda. This is not just about financial and other resources but crucially its about influencing changes to hearts and minds throughout our society.

    • Jennifer March 3, 2017 at 7:05 am


  9. Tony Webster March 3, 2017 at 5:59 am

    “Government don’t have the funds” But they “found”, or “borrowed” from DeLisle, the $40M to celebrate…

    The Lord doan sleep, Mara.

  10. Robert Goren March 3, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Carson C. CaDOGan, these are the types of issues you should be focusing on, rather than spewing your usual DLP political diatribe rhetoric.

    Cadogan, Thompson & the DLP should hang their heads in shame.

  11. Ejd March 3, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Every month tourists are celebrated at the taxpayers expense. Have mercy on these poor people, nuh.

  12. Rick March 3, 2017 at 8:19 am

    The government is trying to be so big and important trying to rub shoulders with the heads of state from vastly bigger countries that they have lost track of why they are in government; to mainly represent the LOVAL people. They can tell you all about the multimIllinois contract they enter into to with foeign investors but it means nothing if they are not benefiting the local people; which appears to be the case with most of these huge contracts. IT’S ALL about the biggest bidder so the majority of the local people are left out of the celebrating….a very sad state of things

  13. Linda Ince March 3, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Govt had money for big 50th Independence celebration. I bet the cost of the superbig flag and flagpole could have fixed these people’s situation!

  14. kathy-Ann Clarke March 3, 2017 at 8:28 am

    They need help urgently, I am glad that he is still willing to see that his wife is taken care of. God help us all.

  15. Dani March 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I don’t want to sound heartless as these elderly people need the help urgently. But in most cases a lot of them have relatives who could help them and refuse to do so. Should they pass away you would be surprised at how fast that old house would be replaced by a new beautiful home. I have witnessed this over and over again too countless to mention when I assumed that an elderly couple did not have relatives and as soon as they died younger relatives moved into the house and in another case they rebuilt the old structure and rented it out. It really hurt me that the old people were living in unhealthy conditions. However, this couple really needs help as no one should have to live in such deplorable conditions. The RDC and the NAB should be sending out staff to do a field visit.

  16. Peter March 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I don’t think Mara Thompson even knows this situation exists much offering to assist. Does this elderly couple have children, grandchildren relatives or even close friends to come to their aid? Politics nor politicians should be solely responsible because it can be interpreted as soliciting votes in exchange for assistance. Lets be positive and supportive here. As Jennifer correctly alluded to the fact that this is an island wide occurrence. I would like to challenge the Rural Development Commission in collaboration with the Welfare Department, to join hands with the three Rotary Clubs of Barbados, the Lions’ clubs, the Kiwanis clubs, the Soruptomists clubs, BARP, The Barbados association of Entertainers which include musical and actors Laff it Off not excluded, All private sector corporations. these include the Massey group, both the Williams group, the Nation Group, The Goddards Group, All the Insurance companies and brokers, The Cave Shepherd group, Carters, FLOW, Digicel, The Harris Group, Berger, Carlton an Emerald City. MQI, Courts, Nassco, Simpson Group, Courtesy All professional entities which include Lawyers, Law firms, Doctors, Real Estate companies, Engineers, Architectural firms, Mark Maloney and all his companies, All construction companies, even private individuals who wish to get involved. This list is endless. If all of the above and more contribute ONE DOLLAR EACH PER DAY. or $30.per month, These senior and seemingly helpless citizens who are practically awaiting their final departure moment, can surely do with the Brotherly love and relief. If such an elderly Relief program is organized and well managed, We as concerned and caring Barbadians as we claim to be, this should be a practically effortless task to be part of. At least 20 properties can be
    restored for these folks. Leave the politics and politicians out of it bearing in mind that all this is reclaimable in your annual tax returns. Thanks in anticipation of a well organized Elderly Eelief Program- BERP

    • DGilkes March 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      It is a government owned structure so the government should be responsible for its maintenance or repair not the private sector. I think if the private sector assisted in other ways like care or personal assistance but the government should learn about maintenance of their assets.

    • Civilian March 4, 2017 at 5:38 am

      Why can’t you get together a group of persons to form such a charity or non-profit?

  17. Peter March 3, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Last line should be Barbados Elderly Relief Program – BERP

  18. The Negrocrat March 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Let us each contribute $5 to help them.
    Barbadostoday can open an account.

  19. lynda wstson March 3, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Good idea Peter if “well organized” and controlled where the needy elderly truly benefit from such a program and the proceeds of same not diverted elsewhere.

  20. Viterose Van huis March 3, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Who will take responsibility for a go-fund me page to raise enough funds to help these Barbadians get a decent place to live. There Barbadians all over the world, even in Barbados with money to spare. This will only work if someone responsible to see that the money goes to the cause.

  21. Clarion March 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Where are the living, concerned churches…….remember the “least of these.” The SDA workers, Maranatha, ADRA rise up and work in His name. These folks could easily succumb to Leptospirosis from the gross rodent intruders. Thanks to those who will assist. Woeful picture. Not much time remaining to them.

  22. stacey Taitt March 3, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Theses people ,especially the husband has made his contribution to this country, Government should be ashamed as a body ,anyone of the ministries can help these ppl or even come together

    Shame on you all,

    private Barbados please come on and help these people like yesterday


  23. Pat March 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    He is not the only family in Clifton Hall living in such conditions. There are others, one old man Norris” house is worse. His son lives in a house similar but at least, he takes breakfast and dinner to his Dad. In Newcastle, St. John, there are people living in similar conditions. 5 years ago the RDC said they had no money, but the government built houses that are not occupied, found money, $26million for Maloney, money for private sanitation trucks, the devil’s fork at the Garrison, etc., but nothing for its needy citizens.

  24. Ashley March 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    i just think these politicians pay pack WANT DECREASING asap. Them living sweet with them hefty monthly salary & don’t do squat to help the poor man. I don’t care what nobody say, the Politicians in Barbados is BARE JOKERS. Ahn voting for a soul come election!!!

  25. Donild Trimp March 3, 2017 at 1:47 pm


    I am willing to bet that it will cost less than $10.000 BDS to fix this dilapidated house up for this elderly couple.

    Something is wrong when a Gov’t can allow their elderly citizens to live in such disgraceful conditions.

    Shame also on the representative member of Parliament whose constituency these poor souls live under.

    I am willing to start a fund with $500 USD to assist in making the conditions livable for these people.

    If there is anyone reading this who is willing to help, lets do it and get this house back to a livable condition for these people.

    Since Barbados Today featured the story, lets contact them directly and send the funds off to them.

    What is happening to Barbados? Politicians taking kickbacks, politicians driving Mercedes Benz, politicians living in million dollar houses and the populace living in abject poverty.

    Give me a break for God’s sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. L King March 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    @ Viterose

    Excuses excuses!

    @ Negrocrate

    I agree with you. Can you contact Pastor David Durant and ask him for he is a reliable person to set up a donation page with Barbados Today. I’ll give. I’m in the UK.

  27. Carol-Ann March 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I feel Mara could pull her own pocket and help them in some small way or solicit amounts from her more wealthy constituents. She also could have used some of her idle time and asked some of the materials suppliers for steeper discounts on the materials and asked workmen in the area if they would either donate their skills or work at a reduced rate. This is her constituency and those are her constituents and they are suffering. Shame on Mara for giving such a shitty response, shame on her for lacking the humanity to even offer some personal assistance.

  28. Purebajan March 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Ya see? This is where I got a huge brain blockage. How in heavens could we have so so many unoccupied brand new houses bout Bubadus, and people like this couple who, everyone can clearly see, are in desperate need, and these houses continue to stay closed up, to the point where they begin to deteriorate? This is unfathomable! Tax payers money was used to build those houses and they should be given to those desperately in need and sold at cost to those who can pay but will never meet the minimum requirements for a mortgage through a commercial bank.

  29. William March 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    This problem could easily be fixed by any one of the wealthy people on the island who have made some of their fortunes with the help of governments and it should be like helping kin as if we go back in time I am sure that they probably are.

  30. Clarion March 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I call on .Senator/Prof. Fraser also
    PROF. Hassell to assist with this worthy project. Let this be the genesis of such community effort. This will truly be “preventive medicine.”…that term enjoins more than DM OR HTN. Cardiac.
    Simpson, Goddards, Williams AND MANY OTHERS remember the past. ….life wasn’t always ‘a bunch of roses.” Name the donated home eg: Grace

    “The poor we always have with us.”…poverty is relative.
    No one in Barbados should have to chase rodents from his/her dwelling place.

    Yes, start a fund. It will swell. Thanks to all those who’d come to the rescue.


  31. Peggy howell March 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I am willing to supply couple sheets of T111 just get a carpenter i can also get them a used fridge to start

  32. Kathy English March 3, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    This is so sad to see and I am related to her line she was a Fenty I want to help but I am in The USA please tell me how I can send $$ My great grandfather was a Fenty and Great Grandmother a Mayers big names in Barbados and I am also related to Goddard as well.

  33. Tracia March 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    We have a faulty concept in Barbados. The first responsibility lies with the family, then friends, then the community, then the government. The people around them should be the ones helping them or at least seeking help on their behalf. I would be ashamed if my parents, grandparents or any elderly person I was close to was living in such a situation. If I couldn’t help them myself, I would be seeking out help on their behalf.

  34. Tony March 4, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Stop the Blame game, and let’s do right, we always behave as if it’s a govt. problem too many wealthy business people in Barbados to just blame a govt, all that is needed is donations from a couple hardware stores and the labour force which is over 100,000 strong, we can all have a heart not just Mara.

  35. RODERICK DOWNES March 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm


  36. Sandra Sampson March 4, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I’ve touched base with some other persons who are all willing to help, but I don’t see a contact number . Shall we get together and help privately? Having a mother in law with Alzeimers, this is going to be a much more complex problem to assist than merely making donations. Can anyone tell me if there is a gov’t facility for housing elderly folks who need assistance? Equivalent of an old age home? There are indeed many people on this island that are in dire need of help and the power of social networking is a very valuable tool in getting help in genuine circumstances. If we all try to help at least one person (or more if they can) we can realy help a lot more people.

  37. Sydneysnoww March 5, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Tony I agree with you. Stop the blame game. Too many people constantly want government to help..blaming government for everything .they are not a cure all. You will drop dead waiting on government. People need to learn to help themselves. Neighbors need to help each other. Everyone saying have a heart should pull together and help these people and others in need. Plenty of “charitable” organizations that you can reach out to. Stop being part of the problem and be part of the solution.

  38. Anthony Walters March 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Good idea Peter. We need a NGO to deal with these issues . Establish a fund , and make it easy for financial contributions worldwide.


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