JIS News

State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, has pledged to work with the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) to make a significant difference in the way the country’s seniors are treated.
“I am not going to take the issues that affect senior citizens lightly. I’m going to put my heart and soul into making provisions in law and in programmes to assist the senior citizens of this country. I will be following you and what I would wish for myself, I wish for all of you,” he stated.
The State Minister was speaking at the NCSC appreciation function held recently at the Church of God in Jamaica on Constant Spring Road in Kingston. The function was in recognition of members of staff, who have given 10 years or more of service to the Council.
Mr. Gallimore said that he would be making arrangements to ensure that senior citizens have better housing provisions and that they receive full benefits under the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). “I will be working with the Council to implement projects to further the agenda for developing ways to assist the lives of our senior citizens,” he noted, adding that he would remain committed to achieving the objectives of the Council.
Lauding the NCSC, Mr. Gallimore said that because of the Council’s work “there is an active engagement of our senior citizens in the continued development of our country.”
Notwithstanding, Mr. Gallimore urged the organization to make the necessary changes to accommodate the increased numbers of senior citizens projected for the coming years and stressed that “the health of our senior citizens must be our responsibility”.
According to the State Minister, approximately 10.6 per cent of Jamaica’s population is above the age of 60 years and the number is expected to increase to 14.5 per cent by the year 2025 and reach 24 per cent by 2050.
He noted however that the issue of an increased aging population is not just a Jamaican situation but a worldwide condition. “The UN (United Nations) report says that the population in the 60 years and over age group is now growing faster than the normal population growth,” he pointed out.
“It is taking place across the globe. this is going to have far reaching implications for our society.we are learning to live longer but longevity presents challenges, which have to be faced by countries and governments. We have to take it seriously,” he added.
The State Minister said that these challenges will require proper long-term planning and “embracing the views and suggestions of various stakeholders that are affected”.
He identified the shifting patterns of work and retirement, labour markets and labour supplies, the structure and working of social security and insurance, as the possible challenges provided by an ageing population.
“Our nation and society must ensure that the necessary policies and programmes are in place and that they are sustained to enable the Jamaican senior citizen to live in dignity,” he stated.
Senior Citizens Week was observed from September 30 to October 6 under the theme: ‘Senior Citizens Health – Whose Responsibility?’

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