Retirees honoured at annual Senior Citizens’ Treat
Dozens of elderly residents, along with politicians from across St Mary, attended an event at the local Parish Church Hall recently to honour and celebrate the foundation established by the nation's retirees.
According to Mayor of Port Maria Levan Freeman, the Annual Senior Citizens' Treat, which he launched in 2012, grows larger each year and was originally devised as a Christmas event for the elderly.
He told Rural Xpress: "I noticed that we had a treat for the children, but nothing for the elderly , so I decided to do something for them when I became chairman of (the St Mary Parish) Council.
"This is our third event and I would view today as a success. I estimate that we had around 70 people, who came for the meal, received gift packages and enjoyed the entertainment. Overall, I think the elderly people enjoyed themselves and were generally satisfied.
"Originally, this was due to be held in December, but we had some torrential rain and had to postpone. The only challenge I have now is that I will have two of these events in 2015 because we are going to have another treat next December."
The mayor's post-Christmas treat, which comprised a free lunch, competitions and giveaways such as Jamaica Public Service discount vouchers and assorted HiLo food products, was hosted by St Mary's acting custos, Colonel Errol Johnson, and the Social Development Commission's manager for the parish, Travis Graham.
Owen Thomas, a resident of Frontier in Port Maria, who was defeated by blind pensioner Ida Grant in the dancing competition, described the event as "splendid", while his 74-year-old wife, Eulalee, paid tribute to the mayor for considering older members of the community.
She said: "I had a good time today and I'm very thankful for the mayor's efforts. Events like these are special to me because after I had my children and started looking after them, I never really had any time to enjoy myself, but now I'm still around, so this is my time."
having a good time
Another Port Maria resident, Ivyrine Thomas, added: "I've had a very good time and really enjoyed myself. I didn't really know anything about this event and came upon it unexpectedly. I heard the music and came across the road to see what was going on and the mayor told me to 'come in and have a seat'.
"Then I won a prize, which I'm really happy about because it's been such a long time since I have won anything. This is a very good idea; something to make the older people enjoy themselves."
Her comments were echoed by Adassa Young from Islington, who said: "I had a good time today. There were no problems and nobody caused any trouble, so we all had a good time."
Annotto Bay resident Monica McDermott declared: "Today was nice because we got to see lots of different faces and meet new people. I'm looking forward to the next one."
Similarly, 85-year old Port Maria resident Eula Williams said: "I had a good time today. The meal was nice and everything was alright."