People of North Windward flung deeper into poverty – John
THE EXPLOSIVE eruptions of La Soufriere volcano, the passage of Hurricane Elsa and the COVID-19 pandemic have flung the people of North Windward deeper into poverty.
“They are facing economic hardship. Our people have already been on the margin where we had 45 per cent of persons living at the vulnerability level.
“We had 11 per cent of our people in poverty,” Opposition senator Shevern John told a virtual public meeting of the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Tuesday night.
She said these statistics were before the various events that struck the country and when you are at the vulnerability level and you drop further, “you gone into indigent poverty”.
“…So one can only so imagine the state of where we are as a people that have been devastated by these events.
“The loss and damage sustained have grave consequences for our survival, our dignity and our livelihood. This is hardship on us,” John told the meeting broadcast via Facebook.
She said despite the struggles being faced by the people of her community, the government is not doing enough and some blame must be placed at the feet of parliamentary representative of the area Montgomery Daniel.
“Over the years political division has killed the comradery in our communities and throughout this trying time it is one of the factors that is still plaguing our people. Immaturity and the lack of insight is killing the so called Iron Man (Montgomery Daniel),” John said.
She said her community needs financial support for rebuilding homes, electrical rewiring of some houses, strengthening of others and also income support for working class people.
“We are experiencing tremendous hardship.
Staying in places where we are not familiar with. Having incurred and still incurring additional expenses that we never budgeted for.
“Like the authorities, we thought that after the eruption it would be a short time for us and it is not so. We are still here struggling with our losses and hoping to go back home soon, but it does not seem like this is the case. We have a long road to recovery,” John stated.
She said every house in North Windward needs to be properly assessed as many are damaged on the inside and this cannot be seen from outside. She noted also that some persons are paying rent for homes away from home and should be given assistance.
John said that many persons in North Windward are self-employed and they have been severely affected and should be employed as part of the cleanup crews but the jobs are being handed out to persons who are aligned with the Unity Labour Party (ULP).
“We know that all have been affected, not a chosen few but everyone. Not only farmers, but vendors, the carpenters, the masons, the shopkeeper, the seamstresses, the mechanics.
“These are some of the persons who we classified in the poverty assessment report of 2008 to 2018 as the working poor. These are the persons who are affected so all involved have been touched in some way or the other by this economic hardship,” the senator told viewers.
She said the people above the Dry River are the descendants of national hero Joseph Chatoyer and are characterized by their resilience and fortitude but they continue to struggle for proper representation.
“What we need and what the NDP has to offer, is proper representation, and moreso, transformational leaders,” she said.
The politician is also called on police officers to be stationed in North Windward as some persons have gone back home to find that burglars had made off with items like television sets and clothing.