The Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA) and Member of Parliament for Wesley, Ezekiel Bazil, have strongly condemned the assault on an 87-year-old woman elderly woman in the community.
President of the DCOA, Zetma Toussaint said the assault is alarming while Bazil described it as “gruesome and wicked.”
Reports are that the senior citizen was allegedly sexaully assaulted in Wesley and is now a patient at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
Toussaint said the council has spoken out strongly about all forms of elderly abuse in Dominica
“The incident is even more alarming occurring so soon after the DCOA Inc held the 3rd Caribbean conference on Ageing, Elder Abuse and Rights of Older Persons on November 30th and December 1st, 2015 at the Fort Young Hotel,” Toussaint stated.
She noted that the council is calling on the police and other legal authorities to ensure that the perpetrator or perpetrators are apprehended, brought to justice and that the full brunt of the law is applied.
“It is very painful to speak about this crime at this time of year when all Christians speak about love, peace and joy,” she remarked. “Our elderly must be respected and allowed to enjoy their golden years peacefully.”
She said the DCOA is also calling on the general public to condemn such negative actions towards the elderly.
“Community members must be the watchdogs of the elderly and pay special attention to the older members around them,” she stated. “We pray that she will recover from her ordeal as we express our disgust at such incidents in society. We also express our sorrow to the family members concerned.”
She also called on relatives of the elderly to pay attention to what is going on with them.
In terms of safety and security, she revealed that the DCOA has been exploring a security system for the elderly.
“An alert system the elderly could use but we have not been able to successfully negotiate that system with the existing organization here in Dominica who can deal with that, so we will pursue that vigorously and continue to bring about something like that,” she explained. “This alert system is something that they could hang around their neck, especially for those who are living alone and any incident they can just press a button which is connected to the relevant authorities.”
Meanwhile. Bazil said the “unfortunate act” should not be accepted in Dominica.
“This should not be accepted within our community or anywhere in Dominica,” he told DNO. “I totally, with no reservations, condemn in the strongest fashion such action against the elderly or anyone in our community.”
He revealed that a close family member was a victim of this ‘draconian action’ at the age of 78.
“I feel the pain of the family,” Bazil stated.
He called on the police to investigate the incident with no boundaries and to ensure that the culprit is brought to justice.
“I also call on the community to come forward and assist the police … we must provide information,” he noted.
He noted that recently the community of Wesley honoured and celebrated the elderly at a function.
“While we were doing this so some criminal was planning otherwise,” he remarked. “We must stamp out/remove such persons with such thinking out of our community, but we can do it only together. I ask the family to be strong and I ask the entire country to pray for them.”