With the San Fernando Centre for Displaced Persons now opened to the homeless, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello is again appealing for citizens to stop feeding the homeless along Harris Promenade.
While there have been similar calls before and a by-law passed prohibiting people from feeding the homeless on the streets, Regrello explained that new measures have been put in place to allow the homeless to be fed in a dignified and safe manner.
Speaking at yesterday’s statutory meeting at the San Fernando City Hall, he said that an NGO has taken over the facility along Lady Hailes Avenue, tending to the homeless population twice a month. It is hoped that this service to the needy will increase to twice weekly. In the meantime, he asked that persons with food for the homeless, contact the Mayor’s Office which will make arrangements for food to be distributed in a humane manner.
On afternoons, styrofoam containers are scattered along Independence Avenue, Chancery Lane and Harris Promenade after the homeless are fed. In recent times, garbage was stuck in the walls bordering the San Fernando General Hospital.
“We are asking the public to desist from feeding the homeless persons on the promenade as they continue to do because what it does is that at the end of the serving, the gathering of garbage is too much. This happens especially on a Sunday evening when our staff does not come out until Monday morning. If you have and you want to make a contribution or a donation, you should contact the Mayor’s Office and it should be sent to the centre because it is not sanitary and it is not healthy.
“It is not that we don’t appreciate the effort that you have been making, but it can be done in a more organised fashion than what currently exists,” Regrello said.
With the rainy season here, the council is exploring overnight accommodations as Regrello said that during heavy showers, the homeless are often seen taking shelter under cardboard boxes. He proposed that the centre be opened at 6 pm for the homeless to get a night’s rest before heading out the following morning.
With regard to parking for visitors to the San Fernando General Hospital, he made it clear that it was under the jurisdiction of the South-West Regional Health Authority and the Ministry of Health.
Recently, Regrello came under fire for comments he made over the lack of parking around the hospital. However, he said that with the hospital catering to citizens living far as Rio Claro, Freeport and Icacos, it is impossible to provide parking spaces for all
. In addition, motorists have to compete for spaces with hospital staff. While people have complained, he said many want to park at the entrance of the hospital, but there is paid parking in the area which can be used.
Reporter: Kevon Felmine