The Golden Age Home : An Insult To Human Dignity!
There has long been a culture in Jamaica that lacks accountability. Our leaders know our people lack the will to hold out long enough, we lack the will to band together and demand that justice be done when atrocities are committed against our people. From the extradition saga to the incursion into West Kingston that killed some 70+ people, we allow our public officials to get away with far too much.
On April 3rd, The Sunday Gleaner published an expose which painted such a terrible picture of the state of affairs at The Golden Age Home in Kingston; that any reasonable understanding of decency and respect for the elderly and disabled among us, must demand that justice be done. There must come a collective and sustained call for the resignations of every single individual who had an obligation to protect and care for those being housed at the facility.
My heart ached as I read the accounts of undercover reporters who allegedly saw patients subjected to mass bathing rituals before 6AM. Bathing rituals which saw men and women being hosed down together and forced to walk along corridors nude. The reports further claimed patients, disabled patients, were tied to their beds on the floor and left to wallow in dirt. One cannot help but wonder what would happen if, God forbid, there is a fire at the institution. Oh my God!
Doing some research, I came across information which stated that in May 1980, there was a massive fire at The Eventide Home (the Golden Age Home was built to replace this one). Some 144 women died in that fire. How then can these workers at the Golden Age Home be bounding patients, disabled patients, to their beds? What kind of society is this? What kind of people have we employed to care for the elderly and less fortunate? It is disgraceful and a display of extreme cruelty.
The most painful part of the story for me was the allegations of verbal abuse being meted out to the elderly patients. It was reported that one worker said to a patient “Gyal, gwaan guh bade!” Seriously?! Gyal? How can you speak to a disabled senior citizen that way?! Don’t these people who work there have parents? Grandparents?? What the hell man!? What kinda of monsters are these? Crippled patients being forced to crawl on the floors to bathe themselves? What is this? It hurts me even more to know that any one of those patients could be related to me. Why do we just cast aside our elderly? Why do we treat them as inconveniences? Some of these people worked tirelessly to build the society we now enjoy and may have simply fallen on hard times. We cannot treat people this way! We have to respect people’s human dignity! It hurts man!
Finally, I hope that all human rights and civic organisations in Jamaica will not let this story die. Jamaicans for Justice in particular must condemn this hell house the Government calls a place of care and comfort. The issue must be thoroughly debated by the parliament and the Administrator of the facility must be made to resign immediately! It is a crying shame! It makes no sense having manicured lawns and peaceful serene grounds, if they are only there to hide a home that is nothing more than an insult to human dignity.
This entry was posted on April 4, 2011 by Mr. Editor. It was filed under Social Justice and was tagged with Abuse, Accountability, Constructedthoughts, Disable, Disgrace, Elderly, Gleaner, Golden Age Home, Human Rights, Jamaica, Shame.