Our Elderly Must Be Protected
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
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As we celebrate International Day of the Elderly, today October 1st., we take pause and remember our own Caribbean elderly, past and present, who have built this region from a slave society, to one of independence, regional pride and sovereignty. We believe that over the last half century, we have lost a golden opportunity to involve our seniors in more decision making regarding regional affairs.
The educated elite has chosen to seek answers to most of our problems from outside the region and a main casualty of this myopic approach, has been a rich oral history and customs that have either been ignored or forgotten. Our culture risks becoming a Hodgepodge of watered down historical offers severely afflicted by cultural penetration.
We are also experiencing the proliferation of nursing homes and other elderly care facilities throughout the region. We urge all governments to ensure that proper standards are maintained and a regional non tolerance policy of abuse of the elderly is imposed.
We are also concerned with state health facilities, which in many cases are free to the poor and mendicant. We must bear in mind at all times, we owe it to ALL our elders, the living out of their golden years with respect and dignity.
In many Caribbean nations, the elderly are daily ripped off by family members and friends. Many of the elderly do not enjoy their moderate state pensions because they are cashed by supposedly trustworthy operatives, who never spend the funds them. All of these atrocities must be stamped out and the perpetrators must feel the full weight of the law.
Our elderly, from all races and ethnicities are or were hard working, religious citizens, who have a long history of holding our societies together. Their contribution in all areas of regional life cannot be denied or ignored. They have labored, many of them for wages that would have never allowed them to enjoy the so-called pleasures, we now take for granted.
They worked hard for us and it is now our turn to work hard on their behalf and care for them with the dignity and respect they so richly deserve.