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‘You’ve got to sit down Miss Jackson, I’m still on my feet, sweetheart’

Shadow spokeswoman on seniors Louise Jackson spoke of her concerns over a case where a caregiver was let off repaying funds she stole from an elderly senior.

As

The Royal Gazette reported on Thursday, Gaynette Holder, 50, swindled elderly widower George Welch out of $32,000 when she was working as his caregiver. She was jailed for a year and ordered to repay all the money by a Magistrate.

However, Holder appealed to Chief Justice Richard Ground on Wednesday, saying she is in debt to the tune of $40,0000 and cannot afford to make the payments. The Chief Justice ruled that Holder now has to repay just $6,000 of the stolen funds.

Mrs Jackson told The House of Assembly that Mr Welch, who was Bermuda’s first black marine pilot, was a national hero. He died two years ago at the age of 101, a short time after Holder was brought to justice. Mrs Jackson went on to allege that the abuse of seniors is not being punished sufficiently, and said the Holder case caused an outcry. She was frequently jeered and heckled by members of the Government during her speech; which caused her to complain about them to the Speaker.

Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess rose to his feet to say: “This Government is very much concerned, and we are passionate about, the care of the elderly. And the Honourable Member Miss Jackson, shouldn’t say those types of things.

“I love her dearly, this case has been to the court and gone through the law. Now if you want to criticise the judge I suggest you write a letter to the Chief Justice. “I don’t think there’s anything we can do about that judgement. We’re not the Privy Council. And, you know Miss Jackson, I think it’s horrible the lady’s only to pay $6,000 instead of $32,000, but I am not the court. I don’t know what happened down there.”

When Mrs Jackson attempted to continue with her remarks, he told her: “You’ve got to sit down Miss Jackson, I’m still on my feet, sweetheart.”

He then reiterated: “We cannot be held responsible for what happened in the court in this case.”

Mrs Jackson said Government is responsible for the Senior Abuse Act 2008, which needs to be enforced and strengthened.

In his speech during the Motion to Adjourn, Kim Swan, elected as a United Bermuda Party MP, complained that the condition of the St George’s golf course is “deplorable” and “unacceptable”.

The course was closed by its board of trustees in July 2008 after it was projected to lose more than $600,000 for the year ending March 2009. Government was allegedly still spending $150,000 to maintain the course more than a year after it had closed to the public. The golf course was reopened to the public in June 2011. The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce announced that residents and visitors could now walk through the property, take in the scenery or play golf “the traditional way” without carts for a minimal fee.

Diane Gordon, the Chamber’s former executive director, said the motivation for opening the course was to keep costs to a minimum. The move was a joint venture with the St George’s Club and the Economic Empowerment Zone.

In the House of Assembly, Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess agreed with Mr Swan that the course is in a bad state.

“They have not lived up to what they were proposed to do, and it is deplorable,” he said.

However, he added it is “not easy but very expensive”, to run a golf course. Mr Swan said the course should not have been closed in the first place.

But Mr Burgess pointed out that it was closed because the intent of the developers of the nearby Club Med resort was to redevelop it.

Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Derrick Burgess.

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Published November 28, 2011 at 8:59 am (Updated November 28, 2011 at 8:59 am)

‘You’ve got to sit down Miss Jackson, I’m still on my feet, sweetheart’

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