Government has assured residents that it is doing everything possible to address the apparent increased in the number of less fortunate persons including mentally challenged in the Territory.
The issue was raised recently by a resident to ministers of the government, who said there is an increased in the number of indigents walking the streets in the Territory.
“People are losing hope, throughout the world this is happening. We have a commitment here in the Virgin Islands
to make sure that we take care of our less fortunate,” Health and Social Development Minister Hon. Carvin Malone said.
He added, “whether or not a good enough job is being done, that will always be debated but the fact is that we have a commitment for it and a responsibility to do this. We have been discussing this in the ministry lately, it must be brought to the forefront.”
Education Minister Hon. Natalio ‘Sowande’ Wheatley said it takes a village to help with addressing the issue of less fortunate persons.
Wheatley, who is also the Representative for the Seventh District said that residents in his district are doing their part.
“Just this weekend the seventh district raised some food donations from the supermarkets for the less fortunate in the seventh district community…a lot of things we do in our communities to assist,” he said.
The Minister said these are difficult times and the residents must come together.
“We have Rotary Clubs, Lions Club. I want to encourage as many persons as possible out there to get in involved in community efforts to be able to support those who are less fortunate.”
He said: “We know it is very difficult times, we know persons are unemployed, some persons going through very difficult time, we will only get through this together.”
Recently police disclosed that they are seeing a spike in bizarre incidences involving persons who are mentally unsound.
Police stated that officers reported six incidents in one week with persons with apparent mental illnesses. Of those six, one mother in Virgin Gorda asked for police assistance in calming her mentally ill adult son after making threats of violence.
Further, a woman was taken to the Behavioural Ward after she was reported missing and then found outside her residence naked in Purcell Estate. Officers were also summoned after a 13-year-old, who had been previously assessed, threatened to commit suicide and kill members of his household.
Also on September 19, there was an alleged suicide attempt of a 20-year-old man at the Road Town Ferry Dock who was a patient at the Behavioral Ward of the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital. He was swiftly rescued by members of the Marine and Beat and Patrol Unit.
Persons requiring assistance for mentally ill individuals can contact the Mental Health Unit at 852-7675 or the Psychosocial Hotline 541-2383.