Oh no, Blackett!

Don’t politicize homelessness, Govt told

Government is being told that it must not use the homeless to score cheap political points.

President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) Kemar Saffrey is expressing outrage that Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett sought to place the genesis of vagrancy on the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

Blackett said in Parliament on Tuesday that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration had inherited vagrancy from the BLP, prompting Saffrey to issue a stern rebuke.

The BVHS founder said when he began working with the homeless in 2007 there were “about 40 persons who we knew were homeless and that would have been under the Barbados Labour Party administration”.

However, he said since founding the charitable organization two years later, there had been a rise in homelessness, with “411 homeless persons that have passed through our services between 2012 and 2016 and that is under the current DLP administration”.

Therefore, he said, it was not right for the minister to point fingers at the Opposition because the problem has existed under both parties.

Saffrey said several factors, including the state of the economy, job loss, lack of family support, as well as drugs and mental health issues play a role in vagrancy, and the society needed to do more to eradicate the problem.

“We are seeing between two to five persons becoming homeless per week and there is little to nothing being done by the Government. Before we would have seen persons from 38 years old and up, but now we are seeing toddlers with their mothers who are homeless, we are seeing teenagers 16 and 18 years old who are now becoming homeless, more so than the elderly,” Saffrey said.

BLP candidate for St Michael Central Arthur Holder is also taking Blackett to task over the comment, insisting there was no truth to the allegation.

Holder, who narrowly lost to Blackett in the 2013 general election and will challenge him again in the next poll due by the middle of next year, held up a study by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies which showed that 19.5 per cent of Barbadians were living below the poverty in 2010, and asked the minister to tell Barbadians what has occurred since.

“Blackett needs to understand the social dynamics involved in vagrancy. There are a lot of causal links that create vagrancy. You have to examine persons coming out of prison after spending long and inordinate time incarcerated who do not know what to return to, and persons who have been deported and having no connections in Barbados,” said the criminal lawyer who holds a master’s degree in social work from Barry University in Florida and was one of the clinical social workers seeking solutions for vagrancy and homelessness in 1995.

He said the BLP had established the Clyde Gollop Home in Hindsbury Road for vagrants, and acknowledged that the facility had to be expanded under the current administration, arguing this was because there had been a significant increase in the number of vagrants and homeless men here.

Holder also pointed to a rise in the number of women and children now seeking shelter, an increase in requests for support from the Salvation Army and a staggering jump in demand for help from the All Souls Church in Bank Hall, which had set up a soup kitchen “which initially catered to 30 persons, but that number has risen to 130 persons per week”.

Source: (KH)

13 Responses to Oh no, Blackett!

  1. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 16, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Steve Blackett, anyone can see that under the DLP, the escalation of vagrancy is evident. Your administration has provided all that is needed for poverty to increase and homelessness to escalate. You are indeed a deceiver. And, just like other members of your disgraced party, you are going down in history as one of the worst.

  2. Tony Webster June 16, 2017 at 6:18 am

    Entirely understandable, since blame for our fiscal-economic mess is already been firmly fixed onto a hapless guy named “fiscal deficit” , as Public Enemy No.1″….we can now similarly cast blame for all those chronic ills neglected over the last 9/10 years.

    Certain folks would be surprised at how much regard we “out here” have for Mr. Saffrey and his hands-on commitment to daily helping our less fortunate…without the many millions passed into the Minister’s hands to play with.

  3. Troy June 16, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Blackett just need to do us all a favour and shut his mouth. From the little boy on the BLP platform now to vagrants. It seems he preys on the young and innocent and also the homeless just to score cheap political points. What has he done for this country?

  4. greengiant June 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I honestly don’t think that vagrancy has increased, like other human beings vagrants die and are replaced too. The fact of the matter is that vagrancy has become a highlighted issue under this administration.

    Was there a vagrancy society or act under the former administration? There was however vagrants. So while I can see with Kemar Saffrey, I can also understand the minister’s point of view. Does Saffrey think the business man currently supporting the association does so with manna from the skies? He is one of the few major beneficiaries of government contracts. So he is indeed paying the piper. Now since vagrancy was an issue under the former administration as well, ( and Saffrey should know ), there was no assistance from the then government, ( it was solely the generosity of concerned citizens ). Now you have an association, now you have legislation that’s being improved on as we speak, and you have provision within the ministry for the association, plus the piper’s mate. When you look at these things honestly, why should Blackett be criticized”

  5. Milli Watt June 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I remember when he and another one wash up on these shores years ago at CBC with de cockknee accent. de mob did not take to the woman and hounded her out a dodge unfortunately they made a mistake. he is a quality johnny cum lately and by that I mean just just now cum………..clueless.

  6. Randolph June 16, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Green giant,you have to be living under a big rock.Let me tell you social and economic conditions can and do lead to vagrancy.What nonsense you are talking some vagrants live longer that other people.

  7. Gearbox1964 June 16, 2017 at 11:01 am

    LOL…so true

  8. Gearbox1964 June 16, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I think I’d like to line up the entire DLP cabinet (with the exception of one or two) in front of a firing squad.

    • straight talk June 16, 2017 at 11:08 am

      ALL of them Gearbox ALL don’t left out none.

  9. greengiant June 16, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I never said social and economic conditions don’t create vagrancy. I said there’s no increase, just that better records are being kept now that there’s a vagrancy act, and a recognized organization subsidized by government dealing with the problem.

    Vagrancy is the condition of an individual who is idle, has no visible means of support, and moves from place to place without working. Though this is only a definition, this description fits all regardless of the cause.

  10. Buun June 16, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    The DLPs have a mental disease call EXCUSITIS!

  11. Mr. Crowley June 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve been baffled for years about this particular minister; can anyone say exactly what it is he actually does as a minister? I only see him in fancy suits sitting in church whenever there is a celebratory event. What are his achievements, policies, legislative accomplishments, seriously, how has he advanced the social well-being of Barbadians; after all, he’s the minister of social transformation. I’m not trying to pick on the guy I just want someone educate me on how he has transform or engineered our social development.

  12. Bondette Yearwood June 18, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I agree put them in a barrel ship them out to sea no return afdress


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