On January 9, an elderly street dweller, his pants slipping below the waist, grime clinging to his skin was sleeping on the curb Independence Square south, next to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, oblivious to the scorching sun.
My colleague Writer/Copy Editor Simone Delochan was upset; she wondered if he were dead and wanted to call someone. Based on my interview with Executive Director Social Displacement Unit (SDU) Loraine Reyes-Borel, I was aware that good intentions could not make him accept help he did not want.
Calling the Emergency Health Services (EHS) could be a waste of time if he had no medical condition and refused treatment. We—Simone, Kaelanne Jordan, writer/media relations officer, and I decided to go chat with the man and offer him bottled water.
His name is Hollis, and he responded that he did not need any medical help. He coughed a couple of times after sipping the water, probably because his throat was parched.
I wanted to find out why he did not get off the streets and he said something about knowing his time and place and where he was going. We told him of the danger of where he was sleeping and he replied he would go to the “square”, presumably nearby Tamarind Square.
Hollis was well-spoken and courteous. He wished us well and thanked us. January 10, he was at the same spot without pants. We heard he had pelted passers-by with faeces.
Colleagues familiar with him said he was in the habit of removing his pants so it would be a waste of money to buy him one. The Social Displacement Unit, Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (SDU) was contacted.