JIS News

Consultant Psychiatrist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr. Wendel Abel, has commended the St. James Parish Council for its comprehensive range of services towards the care and rehabilitation of the homeless and street people of the parish.
“It is to be noted that St. James and Montego Bay now boast one of the most comprehensive range of services for homeless persons, from care centre to temporary shelters and other interventions. The city and the Parish Council’s Poor Relief Officers and the wider communities, must be commended for this model programme,” he stated. Dr. Abel was speaking to JIS News at a one-day conference hosted by the St. James Poor Relief Department on Thursday (Nov. 29) at the Montego Bay Civic Centre under the theme: ‘Hope for the hopeless’.He said that the parish has demonstrated in a tangible way, “what it is to truly care for the unfortunate and the destitute”.
According to the Consultant Psychiatrist, homelessness is a growing social problem worldwide, and efforts to address the issue must seek to foster partnerships not only at the governmental level, but must also involve non-government organizations and the church.
Commending the government’s programme of assistance to the homeless, he noted that a “Commission on the Homeless has been established, so we do have a national commission that develops policies and attempts to establish services and interventions . this commission is doing a great job so far.”
In the meantime, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, said that the facility plays an important role in assisting homeless and street persons.
“Our role at Cornwall Regional Hospital is to initially provide that assessment to decide which patients need to be hospitalized. We then stabilize them to the point where they can return to a family or home situation and we further help them to maintain their stability. The ultimate goal is to get the homeless and destitute rehabilitated and back into the mainstream of society so that they can now earn a living, be less of a burden on society, and contribute to the development of the country,” Dr. Goulbourne stated.
Of the 645 homeless and street persons in Jamaica, 100 were in St. James, with most of these persons in the city of Montego Bay.