Minister of the People and Social Development, Dr the Honourable Glenn Ramadharsingh
July 27, 2012:
The Ministry of the People and Social Development notes with concern accusations by the His Worship the Mayor of Port of Spain, Alderman Louis Lee Sing that this Ministry has asked residents of the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons at Riverside Plaza Port of Spain to leave, and thereby contributing to the number of persons on the streets.
Please note that the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons is not a permanent place of residence for persons who are street dwellers. The Centre has been set up to assist persons with somewhere to sleep at nights, a bath and a meal as well as assistance from a Social Worker to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into the society. In addition to the Social Work services, CSDP also provides access to medical and psychiatric services, lifestyle and nutrition advice, assistance with obtaining national documentation (birth certificates and national identification cards) and access to employment and training programmes.
It has been observed that a number of persons who have been accommodated at the CSDP have resided there for a number of years. These particular persons have been maintained at the centre between 4 – 11 years and they have been offered assistance from social workers for the entire period. In this particular case, these persons would not have been engaging this assistance effectively.
They were offered accommodation at the New Horizon Rehabilitation facility at Piparo and another Non Governmental Organisation, both of which they refused. They were then given sufficient notice and a deadline to find alternative accommodation. When this time passed, they were asked to leave.
Please note that because of the purpose of the CSDP, if it is clogged by long stay persons this impacts the number of street dwellers that can be removed from the streets at any given time. Long stay is a problem that the Ministry continually faces and it is not feasible for the Ministry to carry out its work in this way.
The Ministry of the People and Social Development continues to assist street dwellers with rehabilitation and reintegration according to their challenges. We continue to work assiduously to ensure that street dwellers are not only removed from the streets but that they are offered alternatives to this way of life.