Couple sick and homeless
HE IS BLIND and has a brain tumour. She suffers with high blood pressure and a bad back, and is overweight. Both have diabetes.
Now they are homeless and on the streets with nowhere to turn.
Louis and Shirland Murray face more health challenges than you can count on the fingers of one hand.
And the welfare cheques they get are hardly a fistful of dollars.
Asthma, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, gastro-oesophageal reflux, blindness in one eye, brain tumour . . . .
Just a few days ago, the Murrays were evicted from the one-room home they shared in Millyard Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael, and have been forced to spend the last few nights sleeping in the verandah.
Shirland has been evicted from a place she has called home from the time she was a baby.
To say that life has been tough for Shirland is an understatement. She has been put out by her adopted family time and again. On the first occasion, she was just 12.
“My parents didn’t care for me, and I have been in Brittons Hill since I was three days old. It is hard that under the circumstances people who should know better expect me to be able to pay for my lodging.
“I have little resources and I am not strong enough to work. The first priority for me and my husband is a roof over our heads.”
Down and almost out, they have made pleas to Member of Parliament Freundel Stuart and are keen to meet with Minister of Housing Michael Lashley.
“I have been going through hell for years . . . I have been enduring hardship all my life.
“It’s tough when the road is on your back all day. We can’t continue like this. These things that have happened to me have made me stronger, but there is only so much you can take,” said a glum Shirland, trying to fight back tears.
Shirland, 43, feels the pain of her husband to the depths of her heart.
His days as a taxi-driver are over. And with his illness, there is no chance to earn any money.
“I have been through a lot with my husband and I am not leaving him. This has been a trial of all trials, but I am a fighter,” she said.
Louis turns 59 today, but there is bound to be little celebration if no one comes to his rescue fast.
“I don’t know if we can handle sleeping in the verandah anymore. We get wet and it is anything but comfortable,” said the former steel pan player with the Barbados All Stars.
Late yesterday, the DAILY NATION made contact with the newly formed Barbados Vagrants & Homeless Society, and its chairman Kemar Saffrey was quick to give this matter top priority. Saffrey said plans were in place to have Louis accommodated last night at the Geriatric Hospital on Beckles Road, St Michael.
Saffrey is hoping the National Assistance Board can come to Shirland’s rescue and place her in a home.