Who will rescue the vulnerable among us?
THE EDITOR, Madam:
There is a particular group of persons in the society for whom I have great concern, especially during this period of COVID-19 and curfews. Hopefully, the ensuing scenario, a true story, will bring some justification to my concern.
Born and raised in Meadowbrook, Sebert (not his real name) and his parents are, or should I say were, middle-class residents, back in the day. But Sebert has been treated for an age-old defect: a mental disorder, schizophrenia, manifesting itself in him walking the streets, albeit harmlessly. Daily, after breakfast, he disappears for the day; he is often seen in Cross Roads and sometimes even as far as downtown Kingston. At 50-plus years of age, Sebert has never not returned home where he gets his supper nightly; served through the window of his residence in the helper’s quarters; not the main house. Despite living in what is called a violent society, he has never come home physically bruised.
Alas! With COVID-19, came curfew, and recently Sebert did not return home for three days. Sebert had been locked up or was dead; so it was thought. Just as an alarm was being raised, his stepfather got a call from a police officer, revealing that Sebert was in a hospital. Hot pursuit of him revealed he ‘resisted’ arrest; and was severely beaten to the point of near-death: head burst, foot broken, arm broken. Sebert returns home with shorn scalp, dressed head wounds, and arm and leg in cast. As expected, wearing the cast, Sebert continues his practice, beginning the very next day, and will no doubt be picked up again during curfew hours and be finished off, this time, by the same discipline-keepers of the State.
The only solution the parent has now is to lock him in his one-room quarters, against his will, to save him from imminent death; and this is against ‘human rights’. As a concerned neighbour, my question, therefore, is what can be done to ensure that the many ‘Seberts’ out there who have not the mental capacity to understand time nor seasons be protected from the element of state abuse, especially during this curfew season? Could a system of tagging them with an irremovable and labelled armband be a workable strategy employed so that the police can know that someone like helpless, harmless Sebert does not need to be beaten and broken any further than he already is? I am tearful for the “least of these” who Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25:40. HELP!
Resident & Justice of the