Finally, a roof for blind senior citizenTuesday, September 21, 2021
BY EVERARD OWEN
BOSTON, Portland — Euval Williams used to have sleepless nights whenever it rained. Not any more. Neighbours and police personnel from his community, aptly named Friendship, got together to replace the leaky roof of the visually impaired senior citizen's house.
“Mi feel good, Sah, and many, many thanks [to all who helped],” Williams told the Jamaica Observer from his veranda during a recent visit.
“The situation was that when rain a come mi just have to sit down on a chair at one place and shelter from the rain. It was like a sieve; the whole room wet up right through and through, and [there was] nowhere you could put the bed where it wouldn't wet up.
“God bless them, and I am really appreciative of the help they have given to me. I am so glad and respect those who have helped me,” added the 78-year-old Williams, who has been blind for the past 20 years.
Williams' plight moved his neighbour Jeremiah Barclay to mobilise others to help.
“He is a very nice gentleman… he attends the Anglican church. He took me to his house and showed me the condition. I was shocked,” said Barclay, who heads the neighbourhood watch groups for Friendship and Boston.
“The first thing I thought was, 'We must get this done, we must get this done,' ” added Barclay, who immediately started mobilising help.
“We got the different groups together…got the cash and material, and the youngsters and completed the job [on September 2]. I feel relieved that it is done, and Mr Williams is extremely grateful to all of us that helped him out,” he pointed out.
Among those who helped were members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Boston Old Students' Association, neighbourhood watch groups, and residents from Portland, Friendship and Boston, along with the Anglican church.
Detective Inspector Rohan Brown and his team were pleased to be a part of the initiative.
“Normally, the Community, Safety and Security (CSS) Division attends neighbourhood watch meetings. We heard of Mr Williams' plight at a Friendship [Neighbourhood Watch] meeting and our team met and we decided to be of some help. We put some funds together and made our contribution to the neighbourhood group,” he explained.
This is not the first time the police have teamed up with community members to help those in need.
“A few years ago we also did another project in Boston with the neighbourhood watch and the CSS Division, where we built a house for an elderly man who was 93 at the time. Unfortunately, he has died now, but we continue to take on projects like these to help the elderly. We take pride in doing those things. This is no less of a project and we enjoyed doing it,” said Brown.
In addition to the satisfaction that comes with helping someone in need, working alongside the community also helps with the crime-fighting measures of the police.
“We are closely knitted to the communities through police youth clubs and neighbourhood watches as it helps to build trust and positive relationships,” said Brown.
“We go around to the communities and have one-to-one [interaction] and sometimes in groups... There is no reluctance of the citizens to give information because of how close we are. We can extract information and minimise crime through operations, where possible. It is working and we hope it will continue to work,” added Brown.