T&T: Home, jobs for couple rescued from car

Trinidad Guardian:–  Tears of joy filled the eyes of Naomi Marquis, who is five months pregnant, and her husband Damian yesterday after they began receiving an outpouring of help from members of the public and officers of the T&T Police Service (TTPS).

The help came in the form of job opportunities, financial assistance and baby items hours after Guardian Media highlighted the couple’s plight of living in their Kia car for the past six weeks after losing their jobs in February and falling on hard times.

The couple has three boys ages 16, 13 and six. The elder boys are Damian’s children from a previous relationship, while the six-year-old is the couple’s first child.

All three boys had to be separated from the Marquis’ when they decided to live out of their car.

WPC Crystal Jumadeen, a Caroni-based community officer, who stumbled upon the couple as they slept in their car, sprung into action and found a rent-free apartment in Chaguanas which the Marquis’ moved into yesterday.

Having submitted an application to Habitat for Humanity, the couple is awaiting approval of $24,000 in building materials from the organisation to construct their own home in Freeport. The approval can take a few weeks to a few months.

Damian, 34, admitted that after six months of constant struggle and helplessness they were finally able to smile, as he thanked Guardian Media for reaching out to them in their time of need.

But that was not all the good news that came their way yesterday.

Naomi, 29, found out yesterday that she is having a baby girl whom she wants to name, Crystal, after the officer who rescued them.

“We got amazing news this morning. I did an ultrasound and found out I am having a baby girl whom I am considering naming Crystal because if it wasn’t for her all this relief would not have been possible. Also, my former employer offered me my old job back. This is the first time we have smiled in months. It was tears of joy and renewed hope for us this morning…not one of helplessness, sadness and despair,” Naomi said. She previously worked at a casino.

“Hopefully, tonight we will be sleeping on a bed and not in the car,” Damian said. He too was also offered several jobs.

Among the companies that offered a helping hand were Massy Stores, Blue Waters and SM Jaleel and Company, while several security firms including Sentanta Security Services Ltd promised him employment.

Workers from several organisations have also offered free labour to construct their new home.

“Things are looking up for us,” a smiling Damian said.

He was unable to say when his sons, who moved in with a relative, would be reunited with them.

“I have to settle in and make sure everything is in order before our boys join us. I can’t wait to be a family again. We still need a stove, few appliances and foodstuff until we bounce back on our feet,” Damian said.

Naomi credited Jumadeen, who was praised on social media by the public for her good deed, for giving her hope and a place to sleep.

Many felt the TTPS needed more officers like Jumadeen for her intervention.

ASP Wayne Mystar, who is in charge of the community police in Central Division, said he would ensure that Jumadeen, who is on two years’ probation, is confirmed into the TTPS.

“Within that two-year period, she has to be evaluated. WPC Jumadeen will be confirmed in November at the end of her probationary period. Being a probationer it is highly commendable for a person who just passed out from the barracks to be using that kind of initiative,” Mystar said.

Mystar described Jumadeen’s attitude to her job as always positive, passionate and people-oriented.

“Hence the reason she was assigned to do community policing,” Mystar said.

He also asked Jumadeen to submit a report on the Marquis’ case to her superiors in order to be awarded and commended by the TTPS.

Jumadeen said several of her colleagues have also given a commitment to help the couple financially.

These include Cpl Bhaal and Ramjitsingh.

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