Plan Early for Retirement – Senator Morris


Minister of State for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, has urged the country’s workers to plan early for their retirement years, by investing in schemes other than the government pension system.
“It can’t be that when you reach 55 or 60, you start to plan and think about your retirement. You have to start from now if we are going to reap the benefit in their golden years,” he stated.
Senator Morris was speaking at a National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSS)-organised retreat held today (Feb.10) at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston.
He suggested that the Council form a closer working relationship with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) unit in the Ministry to host seminars in companies aimed at encouraging workers to prepare for retirement.
“We have to make sure that in 20 or 25 years time, the pensioners of Jamaica are not individuals living on the fringes or margins of society but individuals who will retire in dignity and comfort,” he said.Senator Morris also informed, that he was pushing ahead with an initiative whereby universities would form alliances with the NCST in an effort to enhance policy plans for senior citizens.
“I am going to ensure that the initiative is placed back on the agenda because we have to start designing an initiative that will serve to bridge the intergenerational gap between the young and old. One of the major factors contributing to the social ills within our society, is that our young people of today forget the traditional values and attitudes within our society and how that is going to be remedied is by instituting programmes and policies that will serve to transfer that body of knowledge between our elderly population to the younger generation,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the NCSS, Dr. Denise Eldemire-Shearer, said that the Council had been operating under a new plan of action for the past two years, replacing the former Vienna Plan of Action of 1982, under which the Council was previously run.
“We have had a new plan of action and the difference with the action plan of 2002 is that in 1982, because aging was not recognised as an issue or a challenge to developing countries, the plan was determined by the developed world, ” the Chairman explained.
Two decades later, she pointed out, “developing countries drove the Madrid Plan of Action on aging, and therefore many of the issues raised in the new plan are issues we will have to grapple with as a developing country.”
Dr. Eldemire-Shearer said that while the Council was facing the problem of reduced membership, the Council remained relevant, given the steady increase in the senior citizen population. According to her, the country’s senior population, which was about 10 per cent, was expected to grow to 16 per cent over the next 10 years, and increase to 25 per cent by 2050.
“The needs of the NCSS won’t go away, so we have to rethink how best we meet the needs of our seniors,” she pointed out, indicating that the retreat was a part of the rebuilding process.
“We will take forward this new way of thinking and attempt to meet adequately, all seniors from all walks of life, not just seniors in any one group or with any one need,” she further noted.
The NCSS was established in 1976 by the Jamaican government and falls under the umbrella of the Labour and Social Security Ministry. Its objectives include, the promotion of active ageing across the generations; encouraging participation of seniors in nation building; giving recognition to seniors as vital, useful members of society, and promoting intergenerational approaches.
The two-day retreat will end tomorrow, Friday, February 11. Among the topics being discussed, are retirement planning, stress management, volunteerism, and services available to seniors and accessibility.

JIS Social