Former commissioner pleads for social welfare recipient

POSTED: 10/18/11 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – Former Commissioner of Economic Affairs Julian Rollocks has called on government to do more for people on social aid. He’s especially concerned that some of them have had to deal with 50 percent cuts in their social welfare.
Rollocks has been personally touched by the issue as his childhood friend Cressida Lake has been placed in “extreme difficulty.” That difficulty includes having her social welfare slashed by 50 percent, having to wait long periods for her medical card and difficulty with getting to the hospital for her dialysis treatment. Lake is a blind, double amputee who has diabetes and renal failure.
“My plea to this government is to treat the sick, poor and unemployed with more compassion,” Rollocks said.

According to Rollocks Lake’s social welfare was cut because she gets daily assistance with taking her insulin shot. That cut has devastating consequences because Lake has no children and recently used all her social welfare and 24 guilders she borrowed to pay her water bill.
She also has a problem getting to the hospital for her dialysis because the Helping Hands Foundation has difficulty getting onto her road in Middle Region – Caricou Drive. The Ambulance Department also had difficulty accessing the area recently.
“Cressida’s simple request to the government is to fix her road,” Rollocks said.
A letter with Lake’s request for her road to be repaired was delivered to Heyliger’s office on Monday morning. Rollocks also had a brief meeting with Heyliger at the moment he submitted the letter.

The former commissioner believes that permanently disabled people like Lake should be placed on a priority list for receiving assistance with food, medicine and equipment. For an example Lake’s wheelchair needs to be replaced.

Stories like the one shared by Rollocks are why the opposition National Alliance requested a Central Committee meeting with Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever. In the opening round of that discussion MPs across the political divide pressed the minister to have the relevant departments do more in terms of speeding up the turnaround time on applications for both social welfare and medical cards. The meeting stands adjourned until October 25.

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