If there is anyone to be charged for neglect it could be the entire government - or in this case, the Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand!
We often wonder if these people have a conscience, perhaps a couple days at the Palms Institute for the Elderly should wake them up along with a monthly pittance of $6000.
It is an atrocity on our old folk, little pension from the government, little or sometimes no pension from NIS(always some computer glitch or scam there), no subsidies the Guyana Power and Light Company and little help from Guyana Water Incorporated, little medical help from Health Centres and no food stamps.
But we want to look at the care of our elderly when they are placed in the Palms.
Well because we feel that we do not need to quote any bias press reports but to look at the Performance and Value for Money Audit report that was complied by non other that the Auditor General’s Office.
From this report we understand that over $55 million was spent on this facility annually to cater for over 240 elderly folks.
While $50 million is not a budgeted sum we understand from the Report that a sum is allocated to the Home based on the budget allocated to the Social Services for the year and the sum allocated to the Palms is at the discretion of the Human Services Ministry.
In fact, donations to the Palms, would also play a part in the allocation of public funds to its coffers.
What is striking is that there is no proper record keeping at the Palms. The Auditors found that there were no annual reports, no reports on intake of members, no reports on the deaths of members and no reports on donations.
In fact, when the Auditors visited the institution they founds hundreds of walking aids and canes discarded in a mostly appalling fashion under the Palms.
In addition to this, there is no potable water, food is not readily available and staff most times have to prepare meals based on what is available and not according to dietary menu.
Don’t ask how the food is transferred and in what conditions is it given to the inmates!
The Palms buildings and compounds are hideous and requests to the Human Services Ministry for handymen, carpenters, brush cutters, demands for safety bars at windows and garbage receptacles were all turned down.
In 2009 the defects were many and included:
- Overgrowth in the yard,
- defective pipes that lead to flooding in the yard and buildings,
- discolored walls,
- defective walls and washrooms,
- presence of rodents among others.
We wonder which Minster would be willing to spend a night in this hell hole?
We sure they are making deals that would see them better off at that ripe old age as for the rest of us - good luck at getting old !