Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, has denied that Government committed to funding a contingent of senior athletes to participate in this year’s Huntsman World Senior Games.
Responding to an article entitled: Seniors paying their way again in the September 28th issue of the Saturday Sun, Ms. Forde stated: “To the best of my knowledge, the Government has made no commitment to funding a contingent of senior athletes to this year’s Huntsman World Senior Games consequent upon their performances at the 2019 National Senior Games.
“Similar to last year, the Government continues to address the country’s economic challenges and my Ministry is of the view that matters pertaining to the welfare of the general elderly population should be given priority.”
The Minister said that with respect to this year’s National Senior Games, “given an obvious waning of public interest and support”, the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs sought to re-engineer the planning and execution of this event and to make it more fun and family-oriented.
“We recognize that ours is a rapidly ageing society and under the new theme of Live well, live long, a robust marketing campaign was embarked upon to encourage greater participation not only for serious competitors, but for persons to embrace the concept of ageing actively for their own well-being,” she explained.
Minister Forde added that the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs was responsible for the overall planning and coordination of the 2019 Games and collaborated closely with the Barbados Defence Force, which chaired the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
The LOC was tasked with the planning and execution of the full suite of disciplines – archery, basketball, chess, cycling, darts, dominoes, squash, lawn, table and road tennis, netball, the 5k walk and run and the track and field events.
“This new approach yielded an increase in spectators and participants and even welcomed two new disciplines, squash and chess, as well the first ever female cyclists in competition. The Ministry was ably assisted in its preparation by our other partners from the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, the Barbados Fire Service, the National Sports Council, the Barbados Olympic Association, Sanitation Service Authority, Barbados Government Information Service, Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc., Barbados Citizen’s Band and Radio Association, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism, the Royal Barbados Police Force and the National Cultural Foundation,” she outlined.
The Minister commended the staff of the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs for its dedication and commitment to ensuring the resounding success of the National Senior Games.
She lauded the fact that the officers worked above and beyond the call of duty, even on weekends and late into the night.
She also acknowledged the “sterling contributions” that this country’s senior citizens have made, and continue to make, to the overall development of the nation in many spheres.
She continued: “In keeping with the dictates of the Ministry’s remit, plans have been put in place to address matters pertaining to the elderly, including the development of a wide ranging and inclusive Policy on Elder Affairs.
Any decisions taken must be sustainable and all encompassing, providing benefits for all senior citizens, particularly in these challenging economic times.”
Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs