Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, has said that the Department is contemplating legal action, under the Maintenance Act, against Jamaicans, who abandon their elderly parents in state care.
“You have some children out there, lawyers, doctors, teachers, who have abandoned their elderly relatives and leave them to the state and we need to deal with that,” Mr. Montague stated yesterday (November 23) as he addressed a contract signing ceremony held at the Department’s Hagley Park Road office.
He noted that while the Maintenance Act is usually enforced against delinquent fathers, it is rarely imposed against children of the elderly.
According to the Local Government State Minister, some elderly persons are taken to the infirmaries by family members, who then take control of their possessions. He noted that this ought not to happen.
Manager of Shine Construction and Equipment Rental, Louis Chin (far left) shows (left to right) Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon Robert Montague, Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Hanif Brown and Member of Parliament for East St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, plans for a male ward to be constructed at the St. Thomas Infirmary, during a contract signing ceremony at the Department of Local Government, Kingston, Monday (November 23).
“We are also forgetting that the law also allows that once a person checks into the infirmary, everything they own belongs to the parish council. Many times, we check people into the infirmaries and we don’t take their worldly possessions. Some persons have some valuable bits of real estate that we can sell and recover some of the cost,” Mr. Montague pointed out.
The contract that was signed will facilitate the construction of a male ward at the St. Thomas Infirmary at a cost of $20 million.
The ward will cater to 40 persons and will boast a nurse’s quarters, doctor’s station, bathrooms, single and double occupancy rooms, and a wrap-around balcony. The six-month project will also entail the construction of access ramps as well as a special area for mentally ill persons, who might need to be confined.
The works, to be carried out by Shine Construction and Equipment Rental, is part of the Infirmary Upgrading Project, which is funded by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
Another $20 million has been allocated under the project for the upgrading of the Hanover Infirmary.
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon Robert Montague (right) talking with (left to right) Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, Member of Parliament for East St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson and Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Hanif Brown, at the contract signing ceremony for the construction of a male ward at the St. Thomas Infirmary at the Department of Local Government in Kingston, Monday (November 23).
Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Hanif Brown, in his remarks, thanked the CHASE Fund for financing the project and said that the St. Thomas Parish Council will continue to seek more funds to expand the facility to meet the growing demand for space. He also used the opportunity to encourage Jamaicans to support the island’s infirmaries.
“The residents of the infirmary are not there because they had planned to be there. They are there because of circumstance. As Mr. Montague has always pointed out, we never know if any of us here will end up there,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesman on Health and Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, commended the Department of Local Government for the initiative and encouraged the contractor to deliver quality work within the allotted time and budget.