BVI News

HELP! ‘Crackheads’ among minors and elderly at shelter

Shelter manager at the Multi-purpose Sports Complex, Resherma Lyons.

By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist

Desperate calls are going out to the government to help provide security, medical personnel, and other assistance at the Multipurpose Sports Complex which is now a shelter to many who lost their homes in the hurricane earlier this month.

The shelter houses a number of able-bodied persons and vulnerable residents such as minors, senior citizens, a pregnant woman, and even the mentally ill.

“There have been some real psychopaths here and I have been fighting with Mental Health [Department] and other authorities to keep them in. Unfortunately, they are saying they can’t keep them at the hospital,” said volunteer Shelter Manager, Resherma Lyons.

“Right now I have a case with a lady that need her meds and need her shots. When she don’t get it, she don’t remember that she has kids. She don’t remember she has responsibility, she don’t wear clothes; she don’t eat, she just gets crazy.”

Speaking to BVI News yesterday, Lyons recalled one of the most terrifying experiences at the shelter.

“Last night was one of the hardest for me. What she did is, she stomped on the pregnant woman’s back. She jumped on her.”

The incident shook persons at the shelter and even caused some to seek refuge elsewhere, Lyons said.

Security needed

With the occasional drug abuser and stray also passing through the facility, Lyons is now pleading for assistance.

“Everybody looking for shelter so we had the crackheads, we had the bipolar people, we had the panic attacks… It was a lot. All those street guys who didn’t have a home all of a sudden want shelter. There isn’t much security so I have to be dealing with that as well.”

She said she has sought the assistance of police but help has not been forthcoming.

“I remember going to the police station and having to beg for security – this happened twice. They did tell me they can’t have somebody stationed because everybody kind of busy but they’d have somebody patrol. That didn’t happen.”

Meanwhile, Lyons – who volunteers as shelter manager 24/7 – is calling for the assistance of medical practitioners and other volunteers.

“We need somebody to come through here and check. I know [a] little first aid – the basic stuff. I had to deal with a lot of lacerations and cuts. But for dialysis and insulin and stuff like that, we need a nurse coming here from time to time. At least a doctor to check [blood] pressure and sugar.”

The shelter also needs help from counselors, Lyons said.

“This thing traumatized a lot of persons. A lot of persons going through frustrations like crazy so we have a lot of panic attacks; we have children here that still need a lot of counseling, and I haven’t seen a counselor come through here. I have to be dealing with all of this. I ain’t go school for that.”


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