Tennis Star living under bridge
April 29, 2005
Tennis Star living under bridge

His reasoning goes beyond any normal standards. From “small talk” with the talented youth, one can easily pick up that this is an intelligent person who has fallen through society’s cracks.

“I am on the streets because the house at home is full,” Coman explained to Searchlight. But, according to relative Susan “Mary” Baptiste, his continuous “crazy-like” action is reason for concern.{{more}}

“He can do better than that, he [is] educated and could try and help himself, but he turn miserable,” she said.

“I feel terrible about all this wid’ Coman. I try talk to him like a sister, but he doesn’t listen.”

Mary, who resides in the Bottom Town area, is one of the few relatives who continue to show interest in his life

“He is really nice to me, not troublesome or anything,” she said. She is hoping that her continuous encouragement for him to clean up his act will one day make an impact on him.

Battling with himself

For Coman, being addicted to cocaine is not easy; everyday of his life is a battle to stay clean.

His regular trips to cocaine peddlers in the city are triggered by aggravation. “When my mind gets irritated I take cocaine, but only a few times per week,” he confessed.

He spoke of plans to move off the streets soon. He hopes he could eventually clean up his act, obtain a meaningful job and find somewhere to live. Until then, he finds shelter under a bridge at Heritage Square.

Crawling vermin and insects interrupt his sleep at nights. Edged over the riverbed he light’s a cigarette… “This is where I sleep, I relax here at nights when I finish cleaning vehicles,” he said.

Occasionally, he cleans the riverbed under the bridge, unlike some street people who make a mess of the drains much to the displeasure of others.

To some business owners, there might be satisfaction in knowing the homeless are less visible around their business places. But the reality of that happening any time soon is rather uncertain.

“Majority of them cause a problem to businesses,” said one businesswoman.

The owner of a popular fast food outlet in Kingstown said her business suffers because of the amount of vagrants surrounding the front of the business place.

“They come here and beg people, when they don’t get anything they dig up the trash in front of my place and cause a mess,” she said.

She is concerned about the loitering around her business place and the constant harassment and verbal abuse.

Another business owner mentioned that the problem is slowing business down for him.

“I have customers reaching my business place and turning back, one person was even assaulted as a result of these people loitering,” he said.

This is an issue that will not go away easily. Solutions have to be found to this growing problem. It is not enough for us to pretend that these homeless persons do not exist, as long as they do not affect us personally. We all must look out for our brothers.