NEW Nation Coalition founder Betty Ann Blaine has come out swinging, describing the eviction of several families from premises on Duke Street in downtown Kingston as a "wicked and disgraceful" attack on the poor.
"The action taken to put women and children out onto the street with no roof over their heads is nothing short of inhumane and unjust," Blaine declared in a news release yesterday.
"How can you evict children?" Blaine asked. "Where must the poor live? Are you telling me that there could not have been a more humane and dignified way of removing our citizens from their places of abode?"
Blaine however did not comment in the news release on the sizeable number of children many of the evicted women had, despite the fact that
the fathers were absent. Some of the women were also pregnant.
But Blaine mentioned one mother who had come to her nearly three weeks ago begging for assistance to find a place to live.
"I have a case file on the mother of three", Blaine said. "This is a lady who has no hands, as both of them were severed when she was 17 years old. She has three beautiful daughters. I met two of them and was taken aback as to how intelligent and hopeful the two girls are. They are doing very well in school the mother told me, pulling out of her bag one of the daughter's school reports," Blaine said.
"...I had just started to investigate her case when they were evicted," Blaine added, saying: "It's a downright shame! I wish to remind the Government and those without a heart in their chests that people like themselves who have somewhere to live, don't squat. Rather than evict and threaten them with imprisonment, as one government minister has announced, let us instead try to rehabilitate and empower them.
"If you want squatting to end, provide employment for the people. The biggest weapon against squatting is employment," Blaine stressed.
"Furthermore, this is our year of Jubilee. If we are a Christian country, as we say we are, we should recognise that Jubilee is a year of giving and forgiving, not taking away and punishing. In Biblical teaching, it is a year when debts are forgiven and lands given to the poor."