THE MINISTRY of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) is distancing itself from any connection to the Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home near Goodwood Gardens, Diego Martin, after a social media post highlighted poor conditions being faced by its residents.
The ministry issued a statement on Friday, saying the home is privately owned and does not receive subventions from the government, but is managed and operated by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, a non-governmental organisation that falls under the purview of the RC Archdiocese.
On Thursday, Progressive Empowerment Party political leader Phillip Edward Alexander recorded a live video on his Facebook page alleging the home was without sufficient funding and residents "were not being attended to" after the Ministry of Social Development "fired St Vincent de Paul."
He said the residents were "trapped between a black hole between the State and the law."
The ministry said it has two clients under the Community Care programme at the home.
It added that the ministry itself visited the home on May 17 and a later meeting "related to guidance to improve standards of care was held in September."
Since then, it said, "Similar to other reports of elder abuse received by the ministry, investigators from the Division of Ageing visited the Finbar Ryan Home yesterday (Thursday) and reported that the residents were in reasonably good health and did not require urgent medical attention."
It said the ministry reaffirms its commitment to the care and protection of older persons and therefore any form of abuse of older persons is of grave concern.
The ministry said its relationship with the Society of St Vincent de Paul had existed since 1991 for the management and operation of the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons (CSDP), at Besson Street, Port of Spain.
The agreement came to an end in August, when the ministry terminated the existing agreement and relocated the residents to other homes.
"This followed several attempts to get the Society of St Vincent De Paul to be more accountable and transparent in their reporting and operations, with regard to management of the CSDP.
"Coupled with this, the venue had outgrown its original purpose in terms of being a facility for long-term residential accommodation.
"To date, all residents of the centre have been relocated based on alternative options which were made available to them."