Apartments and Elevators among upgrades slated for Social Protection ‘Homes’ this year
By Delicia Bailey
2017 will be the year of many changes and upgrades within the Ministry of Social Protection (MoSP) if all goes to according to the ambitious plan outlined by Minister Volda Lawrence.
During a recent encounter, Minister Lawrence shared with members of the media fraternity the details of several projects that she and staff are hoping to complete this year.
This plan includes boosting of personnel and building the capacity of the current staff through training programmes as well as infrastructural changes to some of the homes that her ministry has responsibility for across the country.
On the administrative side, Mrs Lawrence says there will be changes even as government moves to standardize and modernize these institutions.
For the Children’s homes, she says the plan is to not only provide training for staff but to review the current hiring practice.
“We’re going to review the way in which we employ persons to deal with our children. Not only that they come through the Public Service Commission but also we want to ensure we have background checks and so on on them” Minister Lawrence said.
She also mentioned the plan to rebuild the space that served as the Drop-in Centre but at a new location in Sophia. However, she notes that this modern facility will be constructed to provide housing for at risk families. “Within the Centre we’re hoping to have some studio apartments so that when we have to remove children once one of the parent is not involved in the reason why they are being removed from the home we can take a family there” she explained.
The Ministry is also looking at establishing two facilities at Tain, Corentyne, Berbice. These facilities Mrs. Lawrence says will cater to boys and girls separately who are “betwixt and between” Court matters. These homes will provide a safe space for the youths rather than having them remain in the lock ups or vulnerable circumstances.
Over at the Palms Geriatric Home, some $60 million is earmarked for the installation of elevators which will bring much needed relief to the residents and staff. The Minister notes that “because we have three storey buildings and you’re dealing with seniors, some of them who are unable to move as quickly as we can and also for the staff who must fetch the laundry up the stairs.” This will also aid the delivery of the meals and ensure it is done in a timely way.
Additionally there will be some organizing of the wards and the introduction of an infirmary which will be serviced by two doctors and in the near future nurses.
At the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration at Onverwagt, West Berbice, Minister Lawrence says the plan is to continue to make the facility and residents more self-reliant. Part of the plan for this Centre is to; apart from continuing skills training for residents; to build apartments for those whom the administrators believe are care for themselves and be “weaned off the system.”
The Social Protection Minister also mentioned that for Boxing Day this Centre was able to provide the ducks cooked for lunch at all the Homes. Added to this it provides eggs on a weekly basis to these Homes and is for this year is looking to provide vegetables as well.