Help for Ramesh after ‘eviction’ from Curepe interchange

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Ministry of Works and Transport “evicted” a 42-year-old homeless man from underneath the Curepe Interchange on March 8.

THE 42-year-old man who was “evicted” from beneath the Curepe interchange on Wednesday is expected to resume his medication next week after staff from the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Coordinating Unit (HACU) met him on Friday.

Ministry officials told Newsday the homeless man, whom Newsday named as “Ramesh” to protect his identity, met with them on Friday afternoon after they went in search of him that morning.

They went to look for him after Newsday reported that the Ministry of Works and Transport had removed his belongings from under the interchange.

Just after 9 am on Wednesday, Ministry of Works and Transport staff removed Ramesh’s chairs, cardboard boxes and other belongings. The order to “evict” him, Newsday was told, came from the ministry’s engineering department.

Ramesh said he was going to return to the spot he had called home. He said he had been living there for two and a half months and was paid in food from two fast-food outlets across the road for helping them clean up. He added that he also begged for money when he needed it.

Newsday passed by the overpass on Thursday and Friday and saw Ramesh’s suitcase neatly tucked away where he once had an armchair and other items. He, however, was nowhere in sight.

Newsday also spoke with CEO of Vision on Mission Giselle Chance, who said she would assign a social worker to meet Ramesh and invite him to the NGO’s communal settlement at Wallerfield.

Chance added that many former prisoners are reluctant to accept assistance from organisations such as hers because of a belief that it is too restrictive. And with a stern no-drug-use policy, addicts are hell-bent on not attending.

“We are open to receiving him, once he is willing to come. Wallerfield is a homestead environment, very communal, where we teach the individuals to adapt to social and individual way of living.

“We can facilitate him getting his medical needs fulfilled as well, but it all depends on him.”

Newsday was told that Ramesh, who said he had spent 21 years in prison, confessed he would be reluctant to be placed in any type of group home or shelter, as the rules remind him too much of being in prison.

He did agree to be taken to the clinic to resume his treatment for HIV, after telling Newsday he had not received treatment for some time.