The Seniors of the Red Cross Building in Belvedere recently had a meeting with Board members of the Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association. Various complaints were brought to the attention of the SMSPA, such as:
• The hurricane damages since Irma and María passed last year September has not been repaired as yet by the Sint Maarten Housing Foundation
• Problems with water leakage which increase the GEBE-water bill monthly.
• the unhygienic environment on the terrain in the back of the building,
• No proper maintenance service from the Sint Maarten Housing Foundation, whereas the Seniors pay rent and a maintenance fee, which is deducted monthly from their bank account when their pension income is transferred by SZV
• the income situation of the seniors: low old age pensions and social allowances. Some even complain, that the social allowance was stopped and renewal denied without a reason being given.
• Too much paperwork and bureaucracy discourages the seniors from reapplying for financial aid, etc.
• Seniors that have no family members are not getting help. because of their income situation ,they are not having hot meals every day.
• transportation issues for the seniors: to go to the doctor, to SMMC or to the hospital on the French side to do tests or to see specialists they are referred to.
• The cost of transportation is also a big problem for the seniors in Belvedere. To go to the SMMC they have to pay a bus fee of $7,=. They have to go to the government administration building several times to make appointments to get papers from the Census Office and Social Affairs. There are no busses going to the Tax Office and SVB so they have to walk or ask someone to drop them there. Gypsies cost $5,= to go and $5,= to come back, which they cannot afford.
The SMSPA encouraged the seniors to speak out and on Saturday they were interviewed by the reporter of SXm Daily News. The interviews will be aired during the news broadcasts this week on the Voice of Sint Maarten radio and in SXm daily News on Channel 15 of Cable TV to draw the attention of the public to the neglect of seniors in Sint Maarten.
The Seniors Association will attempt to get meetings with the Sint Maarten Housing Foundation, the Ministry of VSA, the Ministry of VROMI, and the Red Cross to address the complaints of the seniors of the Red Cross Building in Belvedere.
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Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/30454-seniors-red-cross-building-belvedere-speak-out.html