September 24, 2004
HIV/AIDS impact hits home

The saying ‘once a man and twice a child.’ is usually related to older persons having to be taken care of like children in their golden years. Now the reverse is being played out with some persons here performing the function of parenthood twice. {{more}}The driving reason for this phenomenon is the impact of the HIV/AIDS disease. Now after taking care of their own, some grandparents have to play the parenting role again with their own grandchildren.
Arnhim Eustace, Opposition Leader, and president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) highlighted the issue Tuesday at a press conference called at the party headquarters at Murray’s Road
Flanked by NDP vice president St. Clair Leacock and PRO Israel Bruce, Eustace highlighted his party’s school assistance programme where 4,660 children benefited from schools books and other help worth $147,055.
But the Opposition Leader was taken aback by the number of grandparents who came forward. On inquiry, he said, he found that they were representing children whose parents had died from HIV/AIDS.
The deaths on account of HIV/AIDS were not the only concern for the Opposition Leader. He also confided that a mother of five children, afflicted by the disease, had come forward to seek assistance.
The woman’s situation was of anxiety to Eustace especially because of the fact that all the children are still attending primary school.
Eustace therefore pledged his party’s support to “any initiative” that the government takes aimed at tackling the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
According to the Opposition Leader, a number of children here are growing up without the guidance of their parents, one of the realities of the HIV/AIDS scourge.
He termed the development a “serious matter,’ as he declared: “we are seeing the impact.”