For years many residents have been complaining about the deplorable conditions of the Amerindian Hostels in Guyana.
From sharing beds to the lack of food and shortage of the staff, the situation continues to worsen. Guyana Daily News spoke with a representative from the Social Welfare and Health Department who is responsible for formulating and coordinating responses to social issues that affects Indigenous people.
According to the source, that department has the responsibility to ensure that the social welfare of Indigenous people is not violated.
“We get complaints, we receive countless complaints both written and verbal, we have done our investigation as it regards to the residence that is being used for a number of purposes that it wasn’t intended for. We have made recommendations to our superiors but we aren’t in control, the decision to rectify the issues faced at the residences comes directly under the Indigenous Affairs Ministry,” the representative told this news entity.
A number of patients have expressed concerns as it relates to the Amerindian Hostel at Suddie on the Essequibo Coast. On Thursday last, Parliamentary Sectoral Committee member Dr Vindiya Persaud and other government officials were on a two day outreach program and visited a number of public facilities.
Among those visited was the Amerindian Hostel at Suddie. “The situation there currently can only be described as chaotic; from the lack of beds a number of patients comes from various parts of the regions and can’t afford to pay for accommodations or does not have relatives on the coast they end up there. The institution is manned by one staff it is lacking resources and basic supplies at present it cannot cater to the needs of the patients,” said Dr Persaud.
Meanwhile Guyana Daily News spoke with Mariam Thomas from Wakapou Lower Pomeroon Region 2, who stayed at the residence for two days with her pregnant daughter.
She said her daughter was deemed a high risk patient and was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) but they had to spend two days before venturing to the city.
“They hardly got beds the people pack up pack up on the beds people with all kind sickness pack up together, we have to buy food there is no running water,” Thomas stated.
Guyana Daily News also spoke with Amerindian People’s Association (APA) representative, Jean LaRose who stated that the current situation at the various hostels has been affecting the residents for quite a while.
“The APA is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) we assist as much as we can but there is only so much we can do,” the representative noted.
During a visit with residents at the Amerindian Hostel on Princess Street in September of last year, Ministers Dawn Hastings and Valerie Garrido – Lowe had pledged to enhance the facilities at the Hostels.
The main concerns of patients are the fact that they have to share beds with others who suffer from Malaria, Tuberculosis and other ailments.
In the 2017 Budget, some $2.463 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs but it is not quite clear how much of it were spent on the various Amerindian Hostels.
Efforts by Guyana Daily News to contact the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs proved futile.