- Government is committed to implementing policies and programmes for the nation’s senior citizens
- Statistics indicate that senior citizens make up more than 11 per cent of the population
- The Minister was speaking at a tree planting ceremony at the STIM-PLUS Early Childhood Development Centre
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Government is committed to implementing policies and programmes geared towards ensuring that adequate provisions are made for the nation’s senior citizens.
Mr. Kellier informed that Jamaica’s population is ageing rapidly, noting that statistics indicate that senior citizens make up more than 11 per cent of the population, with this number predicted to more than double by 2050.
The Minister, who was speaking at a tree planting ceremony at the STIM-PLUS Early Childhood Development Centre in East Kingston on Tuesday, September 17, noted that the government has been monitoring the demographic trends and is in the process of developing policies to provide effective social protection for all its citizens.
“We have to ensure that the roles for our senior citizens are clearly marked out and that their lives will not end at retirement, but that they will continue to be useful citizens as time goes by,” he stated.
“In other words, we need to realise that older persons are valuable resources in our society and the country stands to gain from an empowered older generation with the potential to make tremendous contribution to the development process,” the Minister added.
The tree planting ceremony was organised by the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) as part of activities for Senior Citizens’ Week 2013. The week is being observed from September 15 to 20, under the theme: ‘Seniors – An Asset to National Development’.
Mr. Kellier, in commending the NCSC for staging the event, said that planting a tree is symbolic gift of life from one generation to the next.
Executive Director, Early Stimulation Programme, Antonica Gunter-Gayle, expressed gratitude to the NCSC for the gift of a cherry tree, promising that the staff and students of the centre will cherish the plant for years to come.
Mrs. Gunter-Gayle noted that the tree planting represented a coming together of the young and old in preserving Jamaica’s natural environment.
The NCSC (formerly the National Council for the Aged) is an agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security with the mandate of advising the Minister on all matters concerning the welfare of persons aged 60 years and over.