Member of Parliament for Moruga, Dr Lovell Francis, has vowed to assist a 61-year-old widow from Barrackpore with health challenges, who has had difficulty obtaining public assistance.

Indra Lalman, who shares a house with her 85-year-old father Seenath Singh, at 155 Oropouche South Trace, Barrackpore, recently reached out to Guardian Media when she was unable to support herself.  

She explained to Guardian Media that she used to receive an $850 a month public assistance grant when she lived by her sister in Sangre Grande.  A widow for the last 12 years, Lalman had to move to her father’s home a couple years ago. She said in 2018, Social Welfare officers stopped the grant and when she inquired as to the reason, the officers at the Princess Town Social Welfare office reportedly told her they were of the opinion that Lalman’s father could have taken care of her with his pension, and that she did not deserve the grant.

Lalman said she lives off the charity of friends and relatives since her father’s pension cannot pay the bills, purchase his medicine and support both of them.

She said before the COVID-19 crisis occurred, she visited the Social Welfare office around mid-March, hoping to get a food card, only to be  turned away by officers who reportedly said they had no forms, but promised to contact her, which they are yet to do.

Indra Lalman said the past month has been challenging since she is a virtual shut-in and cannot go out to seek assistance.

“One of my sisters gave us some groceries,” she said. “I am afraid to go to the market and to the grocery. I suffer from spinal deformities, blood pressure problems and migraines.”

Lalman said to compound her problems, she does not know how to apply for a temporary food card or use a computer as she does not have one. She said she has run out of options.

When contacted, Moruga MP Dr Lovell Francis said his office would assist.

“We understand in this difficult time that there are persons who, because of special circumstances, are in dire need of assistance. My staff and I have been trying our best to treat with everyone we can, but particularly these types of cases.”

The Moruga MP promised that he and his staff will reach out and do what they can to assist.

Those wishing to assist Indra Lalman can reach her at either 654-0855 or 267-7680.