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…eyewitness, pensioner to give statements
An officer at the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Cornhill Street location has been sent on Administrative leave after allegedly assaulting a pensioner on Monday.
In a release on Tuesday, the Ministry confirmed that matter is under investigation and also used the opportunity to apologise to the pensioner for the trauma experienced.
“It has been brought to the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s attention that a pensioner may have been assaulted by one of its Officers at the Ministry’s Cornhill Street location on Monday, February 1, 2021. We have made contact with the individual who made the allegation through a Facebook post and that person will be giving a statement. The pensioner has also been contacted to provide a statement as well,” the Ministry stated, adding:
“The Officer has been sent on administrative leave while a thorough investigation is being conducted into the incident. All the Public Service rules and procedures will be followed in dealing with the matter. If such an incident did occur, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security finds it unacceptable and inexcusable. We take all incidents of abuse or violence against the elderly/ pensioners seriously and are dealing with the matter with alacrity. We sincerely apologize to the pensioner for the trauma caused, if this incident has occurred.”
The incident was witnessed by one Dr Melissa Ifill. She said that while at the location with her father to pick up his pension book, she witnessed an elderly woman being slapped by an Officer for entering the building before the official was ready to accept her.
“I saw a heavy-set staffer quarrelling with the pensioner telling her to leave and stand outside and then to my shock and horror, the staffer leaned back and slapped the pensioner. I couldn’t see properly but it appeared as if she fell. Another staffer came and assisted the pensioner out of the building and tried to comfort her. The police officer did not arrest that beast in human form,” Dr. Ifill detailed.
She also noted that her father told her that, on other occasions, he had also witnessed a pensioner with crutches pushed out of the door.
“What kind of country are we that we’d treat someone who is there for a service like that? Why didn’t the police respond to this open assault? Is this normal??!! Gosh, the inhumanity in this place makes me sick. I want that woman arrested and charged,” Dr. Ifill urged.
The eyewitness also pointed out that, at the location, there was poor provision for adherence to the COVID-19 distancing guidelines, very limited seating, a long waiting period and a disorderly manner of accepting pensioners.