Help pours in for Palo Seco family

Help pours in for Palo Seco family

by Sascha Wilson 21 October 2019

Nioka Alexander and her common law husband Brandon Aguillera with their two children at their home at Beach Road, Palo Seco, on Sauturday. 10/21/19
NNIS FRANCIS – Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

The plight of a Pa­lo Seco cou­ple and their two ba­bies has touched the hearts of many peo­ple through­out the coun­try.

Af­ter Guardian Me­dia car­ried their sto­ry on Mon­day, the news­room was in­un­dat­ed with calls from peo­ple who want­ed to help or give sup­port to the fam­i­ly in some way or the oth­er.

Their squalor liv­ing con­di­tions came to fore af­ter 22-year-old Nio­la Alexan­der was caught steal­ing milk and oth­er food items from a su­per­mar­ket.

Alexan­der broke down in tears as she ex­plained that frus­tra­tion led her to steal be­cause her ba­bies were hun­gry and she had noth­ing to feed them.

Alexan­der was not ar­rest­ed.

In­stead the po­lice paid for the items and gave her a ride home af­ter the own­er de­cid­ed against press­ing charges. Not long af­ter a video that was post­ed on Face­book to em­bar­rass her went vi­ral. But, in­stead of con­dem­na­tion, Alexan­der re­ceived an out­pour­ing of sup­port from the pub­lic.

Alexan­der lives in a wood­en, con­crete and gal­va­nize shack with a leak­ing roof with her two sons, Jas­si­ah, 15 months, and Mis­sah, four months, and her hus­band Bran­don Aguillera, 25, at Beach Road, Pa­lo Seco.

Their home is sur­round­ed by bush­es, has no win­dows or doors and no pipe-borne wa­ter or elec­tric­i­ty. They have no bath­room or prop­er toi­let fa­cil­i­ties.

Their home is bare­ly fur­nished and they all sleep on one bed.

They are forced to cook on a fire­side as they have don’t have a stove or gas tank. The younger ba­by has no clothes while his broth­er bare­ly has any cloth­ing.

The un­em­ployed moth­er and her hus­band who works part-time as a con­struc­tion work­er are ap­peal­ing for as­sis­tance for their chil­dren and ma­te­r­i­al to con­struct a prop­er home.

Al­ready the In­di­an Walk Po­lice Youth Club has cre­at­ed a Face­book page called Peo­ple Help­ing Peo­ple and a What­sApp Group to so­lic­it help for the fam­i­ly.

Pres­i­dent Quin­cy Jones and vice pres­i­dent Don­niel Black­well took wa­ter and oth­er items to the fam­i­ly on Sat­ur­day. They re­turned on Sun­day and with Aguillera’s help cut down the tall bush­es near the track and house and al­so cleaned up the sur­round­ings.

Jones said, “The fact is they don’t have any­thing. Peo­ple might be say­ing why they don’t look for work, but that is not the point. The point is about bring­ing back hu­man­i­ty. They just need that in­ter­ven­tion and sup­port.”

He said they have got­ten a lot of re­spons­es with peo­ple of­fer­ing to pur­chase food items, a stove, a gas tank, con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and oth­er things. He said their main ob­jec­tive is to em­pow­er the cou­ple and help them build a com­fort­able home.

A woman from San­ta Cruz al­so promised to buy the cou­ple a cell­phone. A team from the Na­tion­al Fam­i­ly Ser­vices Di­vi­sion of the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment is ex­pect­ed to vis­it the fam­i­ly to­day while the Chil­dren’s Au­thor­i­ty is al­so look­ing in­to the mat­ter. Shemelle Paradice of the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Unit said they will be con­tact­ing the fam­i­ly to ful­ly un­der­stand their cir­cum­stances and to de­ter­mine if there are any child pro­tec­tion con­cerns.

“If this is the case the Au­thor­i­ty will take the nec­es­sary steps to en­sure that the chil­dren in this fam­i­ly are safe.”

Giv­en the fam­i­ly’s poor cir­cum­stances, Paradice said the Au­thor­i­ty will al­so be li­ais­ing with oth­er agen­cies to de­ter­mine what sup­port can be giv­en to the chil­dren and adults.