Published 30th June 2016, 2:17pm
As a country, it is imperative that we not only recognise the contributions older persons have made and continue to make in our development, but go further than this by ensuring that they are able to maintain their highest level of independence where possible, participate in family and community life, benefit from high standards of care, achieve self-fulfillment and live with dignity.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I announce that the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports has been charged with developing the blueprint which will advance the rights of older persons in our country; that is, the development of a National Older Persons Policy for the Cayman Islands (the Policy). To support this initiative, in January 2016, Cabinet appointed the National Older Persons Policy Steering Committee (the Steering Committee) to draft the Policy which will cover a twenty-year period (2016-2035) and instructions for new overarching legislation to advance the rights of older persons.
Thus far, a focus on promoting the rights and welfare of older persons and providing strategic guidance on the delivery of quality services has characterised the development of the Policy. In order to further inform the Policy’s development, I believe it is important to solicit direct input from the public, especially older persons, practitioners and community advocates. Accordingly, the Steering Committee has invited a number of practitioners and advocates to take part in a workshop. Participants will be exploring the current status of older persons and the challenges they face in our country. Matters to be discussed are the ability to live with dignity free from exploitation and abuse in their homes and communities; fair treatment regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, disability or socio-economic status; access to basic necessities, such as food, accommodation and health care; as well as cultural and spiritual resources.
The stakeholders’ workshop will be held on Friday, 1 July, 2016 at the Family Life Centre. Input from the participating stakeholders will be collated to inform the continued development of the Policy. During the upcoming months, additional opportunities will be available for the general public to contribute to the development of the Policy. I urge everyone to participate in this process when called upon as it will determine the quality of life for older persons now and in the future.