As Barbados celebrates its golden jubilee, special emphasis must be placed on the contribution made by the country’s greatest resources: its people and the role they have played in the country’s development.
This view was expressed today by Acting Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Senator Patrick Todd, at a celebratory concert in recognition of International Day of Older Persons, which is observed on October 1.
The concert, which was held at the Jorris Dunner Elderly Day Care Centre, also served to celebrate retirees of the National Assistance Board (NAB), as well as Barbados’ 50th Anniversary of Independence, which the Minster explained were all “intricately linked”.
This link, he explained, existed because the elderly population comprised Barbados’ “unsung heroes and nation builders”, who had made a significant contribution its development.
“Today, we salute our sons and daughters whose hard work, values and ideals have helped to carve this society into one of which we can all be justly proud. They have helped to write our names on history’s page so that wherever we go, we can confidently declare that we are Barbadians,” he stated.
Mr. Todd explained that the International Day of Older Persons was important because it presented an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older persons make to society, and also raised awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world.
This year’s theme: Take a Stand Against Ageism, focuses on drawing attention to, and challenging negative stereotypes and misconceptions about, older persons and ageing.
The Acting Social Care Minister explained that the NAB created the Jorris Dunner Elderly Day Care Centre to challenge the misconceptions about elderly persons, by providing a supportive and stimulating environment geared at enhancing their potential, health and well-being.
The centre, which previously operated as a Senior Citizens’ Home, was closed in 2009, but reopened last September and transformed into an elderly day care centre.
“The centre embraces and promotes the concept of active ageing… this concept is articulated in the National Policy of Ageing and is widely supported by all heads and staff members in the Ministry of Social of Care,” Senator Todd stated.
He pledged his support and commitment to those who have “laid the foundations that we now build on”, and encouraged those present to pledge their support as well.
The concert featured performances by Denis ‘Cutloose’ Springer, Paula Hinds, Sister Magrita Marshall and the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.