Sando mayor: Don’t feed the homeless on the street

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

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