Seniors lauded at awards ceremony
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier has urged the nation to take greater interest in and do more to protect the country's senior citizens from societal ills, which afflict them in their twilight years.
Minister Kellier was delivering the keynote address for the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) St James committee's installation ceremony and awards at Chateau Margarita, Unity Hall, Montego Bay last Thursday.
Twenty community stalwarts were installed as presidents of the National Senior Citizens Council Day Activity Centres in the parish and 10 Super Rose members awarded for contribution to community affairs and to nation building during the ceremony.
"I urge you to do more to protect them from homelessness, food shortages, mistreatment, neglect and financial fraud. It is very important that you zero in on these things, ladies and gentlemen, because senior citizens are among the most vulnerable in the country, and yet it is on their shoulders that we are standing today, through the work and the sacrifice that they have made," Kellier said.
'care for the elderly'
He also urged community leaders, church and civic groups to ensure that the elderly are not brushed aside and neglected for those deemed younger and stronger.
"We cannot afford to condemn them to the scrap heap of this nation. They are not here to get rusty, they still have the energy; they still have the experience; they still have the will. The creative expression that they can give to us, based on their experiences, will go a far way to help us as we go about trying to shape the society so that we can have a wonderful future for this country," the Minister added.
Kellier also indicated that the Ministry of Labour was working with the NCSC to review the national policy for senior citizens in order to develop strategies to enhance self-reliance and functional independence of seniors, and facilitate their continued participation in their families and society.
"Remember, ladies and gentlemen, the way we treat our elderly speaks volumes about the kind of people we are. And as we prepare for our own senior years, let us work to build a society where they are valued and cared for. Let us help them to have a more healthy, productive, happy, and independent life," Kellier said.
The ceremony was punctuated with performances from senior citizen Noel Crooks, from Rose Heights, who gave a rendition in song, while Deanna Barracks and Cheyenne Allen of Mt Salem Primary and Junior High School wowed the audience with two poetry pieces, 'No Smoking in Ya' and another comedic but educational piece speaking about an older person's challenge with using the latest cell phones and gadgets.