The two elderly men filmed on a ward at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, one of whom repeatedly slapping the other, both have been abandoned by their families.
They are among some 10 people whose families have abandoned them at the country’s main healthcare facility.
“I don’t know why they would film a thing like that but you know nowadays they film everything,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on NBC Radio, on Wednesday, adding that he had seen the video that day.
It is not clear when the videos were filmed but they have raised questions about where the nursing and other ancillary staff such as attendants were when the beating took place, especially as the man who was being beaten cried out loudly.
In a 20-second video, one of the men — wearing only something around his hip area that is so ill-fitting that his private parts are almost exposed — walks over to the bed on which the other man is lying and says, “You got something else to say?”
“Yes,” responds the other man, who is wearing only what appears to be an adult diaper.
As the man who walked over inches closer, the man on the bed appears to cringe, apparently in anticipation of blows and then cries out “Oh Gawd!” before the other man slaps his hard across the face.
“Oh gawd! Murder!” the man on the bed cries out as the other man hits him repeatedly.
“You shut your mouth!” the man doing the beating says, as the video ends.
Another video that is 3 seconds long shows what appears to be the same men, with the one doing the beating dressed in what appeared to be a medical patient gown.
In a third video, which is 22-seconds long, the man who is lying on the bed appears to say, “You better come strong.”
The voice of a second man, sounding like that of the man doing the beating in the two other videos, is heard saying off screen, “Shud up! I am strong.”
“And you weak,” the man lying on the bed said.
“You are a f***king stupid c***. That’s what you are,” the second man said.
“Come over!’ says the man lying on the bed.
“That’s what I’m going to,” the second man says as the video ends.
Gonsalves said he was told in a preliminary report that the man beating the other “has a foreign accent.
“I don’t know whether he is a foreigner or whether he had been away for some time.”
The prime minister said there about 10 people abandoned at the hospital.
“Seven or eight males and two or three females and they can’t be accommodated, there is not enough space at the Lewis Punnet Home, the facility which we have there,” he said.
Lewis Punnet Home is a state-run home for elderly, indigent people. It also accommodates people who are severely physically disabled as well as people who have suffered debilitating injuries resulting in paralysis and whose families cannot accommodate or care for them at home.
“Of course, when we build out the new one, we would have more space and so on,” Gonsalves said.
The Lewis Punnet Home has been relocated to the former Nurses Hostel Building at Stony Ground, Kingstown, while its permanent location at Glen is rebuilt.
“But remember I said earlier, the elderly population is getting more – people are living longer and between the 2001 and 2012 census period, the elderly over-60 population increased by 31%,” the prime minister said.
“And, some families are just abandoning their elderly and I know some of those families may say, ‘Well, he or she never bothered with me. Why I going bother with them now?’ But we can’t function like that. We got to try and take care of your family in your home. This is a trend across the Caribbean — in Jamaica, in Trinidad, in Barbados, because it has reached horrific proportions.”
He said that there was one person who has been abandoned at the Mesopotamia health facility for whom a one-bedroom home has been built.
“Well, that one is not so much elderly but there are other issues and they are supposed to do the electricity and water connection for that one-bedroom house. That’s what I have been advised.”
The prime minister, however, pointed out that even if a one-bedroom structure is built for some of these people, some of them cannot properly stay by themselves, noting that a home helper would provide services during the day.
“It’s a sad thing in some cases and they don’t have the family with the means to put them in a private old people’s home. The Thompson Home accommodates some people and that might be the cheapest of the lot but they only have a few spaces and so on and so forth,” Gonsalves said.
“So, when they are abandoned by their families, I think seven of them are on male medical and three at male surgical to the back. That’s the sad situation.
“We have to live good and make sure that when you are strong you are around for people, including your family so that when things get hard on you, when you are down and oh so weary [you have someone],” he further stated.