Roseau, Dominica – Prime Minister of Dominica the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit has called on young people to show love, admiration and respect to senior citizens. Prime Minister Skerrit made the call while addressing a National Rally and Health Fair for senior citizens at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The National Rally and Health Fair was part of the Month of Elderly 2014 observed under the theme; “Ageing with Dignity – A Nation’s Hope and Pride.”
Prime Minister Skerrit stated that there is an opportunity for young people to change their attitudes and treatment of senior citizens.
“I find it very, very difficult to comprehend and to accept that you have children living next door to their parents and not even going there to say good morning; good afternoon; how are you; do you need help; have you eaten today? Some of them have even taken their parents wealth and riches and resources and using it and not caring for our senior citizens. It cannot be right, it cannot be right and we have a responsibility to speak about it and to seek to change it,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.
Prime Minister Skerrit pledged Government’s commitment for the continued support to the Dominica Council On Ageing and to senior citizens in the country. He further committed to continue social programmes geared towards senior citizens in the country.
“I will say to you as the Prime Minister of this country that this Government, which I have the honour to lead, will never, ever turn its back on the senior citizens of this country. I will ensure that we will continue with the programmes but also increase the programmes for the senior citizens… I want to say to you the senior citizens that this country owes all what it has achieved to your hard work. You built the roads; you built the schools, you educated our children; you provided health care to us under trying and difficult circumstances, very difficult circumstances for very little pay. What we have today it is all because of what you have done for us in this country and we have a responsibility to recognize that,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.
The Dominica Labour Party Administration has over the years invested heavily in social programmes aimed at improving the lives of senior citizens in Dominica. One such initiative is the Yes We Care Programme which has provided daily, hands on care to seniors and physically challenged people in Dominica.
In the 2014/2015 National Budget Address, Prime Minister Skerrit announced relief for pensioners and people of pensionable age who do not have a pension. This measure includes that “that effective
October 1, 2014 all persons 70 years and older, with no known source of income, or whose income is less than $200 a month, shall be entitled to a Cost of Living Grant of $200 a month. This initiative shall continue until such time as a more permanent system can be effected for the benefit of those who have contributed over the years to the development of our country.”
Prime Minister Skerrit also announced “in the case of other senior citizens who currently receive pensions as a result of their contributions over the years, the government recognises that these people would be among the most vulnerable, in an environment of continuously rising prices, due to factors beyond the control of the Government or indeed the retail sector of Dominica. Such persons, who currently receive between $200 and $600 a month, shall, effective 1st October 2014 receive, what I would like in this cyber age to refer to as a $25 a month top-up from the Government.”