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Nation Builders Saluted

Mrs Violet Myles

October in the Cayman Islands was once again the time for a month long series of events planned by the Department of Children and Family Services, an entity of the Ministry of Health and Human Services, seeking to raise awareness about the issues that face our elderly population.

In keeping with its promotion of human development, the Ministry has noted with concern the reality that the place of the elderly is being eroded in our society. It therefore endorses the theme for International Day of Older Persons - "Rights of Older Persons"; a theme which is particularly significant, as this year is also the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The month of October is a special time when the contributions to and participation of our elderly population in our social, economic, cultural and political arenas are honoured. Such recognition emphasises the right of older persons to live a fulfilling, healthy and safe life without fear of discrimination, neglect, abuse or violence.

At a celebration of the elderly organised in East End by the Community Development Unit of the Empowerment Agency, a bevy of Ministry officials, politicians, community leaders and representatives of private organisations joined the older persons present to thank them for their influence on the Cayman Islands.

"This is the greatest cross section of seniors I've ever seen," Minister of Health and Human Services, the Hon. Anthony S. Eden, OBE, JP, commented. "I'm happy that my Ministry was able to organise these events and that we dedicated the entire month of October to honouring the elderly".

"We owe so much to our elders and it's because of their contributions that we enjoy such a high standard of living today."

Repeat attendee, 71-year-old Lillian Miller, journeyed from North Side to attend the East End event. She too was happy with the turnout and said, "It's nice to see so many of my old friends. I really enjoy the company and the entertainment is nice too."

Communications Minister and East End Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), the Hon. Arden McLean, JP, added his own thanks while addressing the gathering.

"I would not be the person I am today without your input," he said. "In fact, every working adult - whether we are teachers, labourers, doctors, or politicians - would not have acquired the basic tools to do our jobs as professionals, parents and citizens were it not for the lessons we learned from you."

George Town MLA Lucille Seymour, JP and Cayman National President Ormond Williams, guest speakers for the George Town event, expressed similar sentiments.

Also attending the events were Speaker of the House, the Hon. Edna Moyle, JP, MLA, MLA Osbourne Bodden; Department of Children and Family Services Director, Deanna Lookloy; Community Development Coordinator Zemrie Thompson; Adult Special Needs Programme Supervisor Dawn Rankin; Pastor Alson Ebanks of the Church of God Chapel, and Rev. Louis Sully from the East End United Church.

Event organisers thanked the Ministry of Health and Human Services; and the many companies and private individuals whose sponsorship made the events possible.

For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan