A call for policies and laws to be put in place to protect elderly and mentally ill citizens, this call comes from the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Residential Homes Association, Caroline Ruiz.
Speaking to Guardian Media Limited, Mrs Ruiz said she was disappointed with what was happening at the Transform Life Ministries Rehabilitation Center.
The facility she said is not a home but a rehabilitation centre.
On Wednesday, Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith led officers of the Special Operations Response Team to Transformation Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca where they found 69 persons.
Cells at the facility were equipped with padlocks which were placed on the outside, meaning the persons on the inside could not get out unless someone opened the cell. There were people in the cells.
Police also found tasers and batons.
Ruiz said while the description of the centre did not fall within the ambit of what her Association does, “I am very concerned that there are policies in place to treat with situations such as this and nothing was done”, she said, “ We have been lobbying with government agencies to look into industry, we want to work with them to help make it better but there are various challenges.”
There are 167 homes for the aged registered with the Association.
But Ruiz said there currently over 300 homes in the country.
She said the there has been an increase in persons looking for places because of the growing number of young people who are mentally ill.
“How do we treat with that when we are governed by policies only for the elderly, there is a clear need for all stakeholder to meet and create policies to protect at-risk person especially the mentally ill and elderly,” Ruiz said.
She is also urging government officials to meet with Residential Homeowners and to work with the association
“We have become a working society and we need to places to put our loved ones and its time for the country to know who are the reputable associations to place your loved ones”, she said, “the country also needs to be educated about mental health”.
Reporter: Otto Carrington