Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with special responsibility for Local Government reform, Hon. Robert Montague, has commended the St. James Parish Council for treating the elderly, homeless and indigent persons within the city of Montego Bay, with care and compassion.
Following a tour of the Council's Care Centre and the Night Shelter, operated in collaboration with the Open Heart Mission, Mr. Montague said he was very impressed with the layout of both facilities, which offer day and night care for persons in need.
The State Minister, who was in Montego Bay to address the opening of the eighth annual conference of the Caribbean Fire Chiefs Association, on November 16, visited indigent facilities within the city.
"What they have done is a model programme that I have already recommended to the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, in terms of a model of how you look at, deal with and treat with our homeless persons.there is a level of dignity," the State Minister said.
He called for a public display of caring for the elderly, indigent and homeless persons, as unfortunate situations can befall anyone and cause them to be in need of care.
"So, while we are in a position to do something, let us do it and do it well," he said.
Pointing out that the St. James Parish Council Night Shelter has a population of some 26 males and 18 females, Mr. Montague expressed the view that this is a clear indication that the males of the society were not caring for their homes in their early years.
He also noted that a similar situation exists in the infirmaries across the island, which tells a story of families being quicker to care for their needy females than the males, adding that many times this is because of what the males did when they were strong and healthy.
Against this background, the State Minister appealed to the young males of today to act responsibly toward their families.