Editorial: A matter of great importancePOSTED: 08/1/12 12:50 PM
When our news team came up with the idea to interview “the man who sleeps in the alley next to the court house” we were looking to confront our nation and its leadership with a story on the issue of homelessness. What we’ve ended up with is much more than that and requires the urgent attention of several individual ministers if not the entire cabinet. It also requires civil society and non-governmental organizations to play their role.
While we found a homeless man – who we’ve since identified as Cyril – to talk to, the story has become about more than just poverty. It now covers drug use and its affects, the economic impact of having a potentially violent man in a high traffic tourism area and the role that families play in somewhat taking care of people who fall through the cracks.
Admittedly Cyril has made choices that have led to where he is now, but the issues surrounding those choices need to be explored and responses developed that will prevent it from reoccurring. This is necessary, because Cyril is not alone. As business people and even tourists have pointed out there is drugs to be had in Philipsburg and there is fear in tourists who do not what the homeless who among them on their visit are likely to do to get their next meal or their next fix.