President promises better services, life for elderly a priority for Government -at observance of International Day for Older Persons
(MOTP) Georgetown, Guyana – (October 5, 2016) President David Granger, earlier today, assured the senior citizens of the country that their welfare is carefully being examined by the Government and new measures will be instituted in the new year to ensure that they are afforded a better quality of life. Among these measures, is the implementation of a care giver system, which will allow for the provision of home care services for those seniors who are most in need rather than having them institutionalised.
Speaking at a special luncheon organised for elderly persons from the Upper Demerara- Berbice (Region Ten) area, held today at Umana Yana, in observance of International Day for Older Persons, which was observed on Saturday, October 1, President Granger said that his administration continues to work on policies and programmes that benefit the most vulnerable citizens. International Day of Older Persons serves as reminder of the Government’s obligations to the elderly.
“…You have a Ministry that is dedicated and committed to social protection and this has to be extended to the most vulnerable of our population, our older persons, our poorer persons, our differently abled. The Ministry has work to do. I am glad for this event today because you should not allow growing older to make you feel depressed, to make you feel endangered or unwanted. This is the time for second spring…so this is a good opportunity for you to enjoy life,” the President said.
He said that as Guyana observes this day, Government is committed to ensuring that systems are in place to afford the senior citizens of the country with the types of services and support that would improve their lives.
“…We have a plan and part of that plan is ensuring that you live in happy households and we have to do more. We are not a rich country but we want to give you what we could afford to ensure that you live in happy households. We want to ensure too that you have quality housing and the third thing we want to ensure you of, is your concern about your health. We know the older you get, the more you need medical attention. We must choose a lifestyle that will extend our lives and we must take responsibility for our health… This is the silver period of our lives and it must be the time for a good life when we can
celebrate our contributions to society and when young people and look us to us and respect us and learn from us because they too will become older persons. They must learn to respect the older persons because we are the repositories of experience and expertise,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Volda Lawrence, said that the five pillars of Resolution 46/91, which was passed and adopted by the United Nations; independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity for older persons, are the guiding principles of Government policies for older Guyanese.
“In 2017, we will be looking at a programme whereby we can give assistance to your children and grandchildren by providing care givers for those boys and girls who really need it so that they can remain in the home and continue to give that support and teach the young ones so that they can grow up to be young men and women strong in their faith and take the mantle of this country and continue to lead it to prosperity,” Minister Lawrence said.
The Minister also said that efforts are being made to increase the Old Age Pension from $18,200 to 20,000 but this would be determined when the 2017 National Budget is announced.
“I want to assure you that the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Social Protection will hold true to our resolution to honour you. We have begun to fulfil our promise of providing you with a pension of $20,000 and we are just shy by $1,800. As we continue to pray and ask for blessings upon our country, our leadership, we will see what is in store come December when the Minister of Finance lays the Budget in the National Assembly,” Minister Lawrence said to loud applause.