Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, is encouraging Jamaicans to protect the elderly by reporting incidents of abuse meted out to them to the police or the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC).
The Minister said abuse of seniors should be of grave concern to all “decent and law-abiding citizens”, noting that the practice must be stopped.
“No person in society should be subject to abuse, and definitely not our seniors who, because of their age, become vulnerable and are preyed upon by heartless and uncaring persons. They are being abused physically, financially and otherwise. This must stop,” she emphasized.
The Minister was addressing the press launch for Senior Citizens Week, on Friday, September 21 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
“[Seniors] must be respected and their rights must not be violated. Those of you who are engaged in it, I say to you desist from it, because if it means that civil penalties will have to be imposed as a deterrent, then so shall it be,” she asserted.
Robinson said the Ministry is working towards building a Jamaica where healthy relationships are fostered among elders and all other citizens, leading to the transfer of knowledge which will serve to preserve the country’s legacy.
Senior Citizen’s Week is being observed from September 22 to October 1, under the theme: ‘Forging our Future: Embracing the Participation, Contribution and Talents of Older Persons’.
The schedule of activities kicked off with a national church service at the Ocho Rios Seventh Day Adventist Church in St. Ann on Saturday, September 22.
A national tree planting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, September 26 at the Stimulation Child Development Centre at 1A Ostend Close in Kingston. All other parishes will conduct tree planting activities on Monday, September 24.
An evening of entertainment for the seniors is slated for Saturday, September 29, which will include a concert featuring reggae/soca band, Fab 5. This will be held at the Karram Speid Auditorium at Merl Grove High School, Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew.
Sunday, September 30, will be observed as National Grandparents Day, while International Day for Older Persons will be marked on Monday, October 1.
The latter will see the National Council for Senior Citizens hosting fora on the rights of the elderly in all parishes.