“The Protection of Older Persons is The Responsibility of Every Citizen”- Social Services Minister
Acting Minister for Social Services and Gender Affairs, Justina Charles has sounded the call for a regional response to the issues facing the elderly population in the Caribbean.
She made the call at the ‘Third Caribbean Conference on Ageing, Elder Abuse and the Rights of Older Persons’ at the Fort Young hotel late last month.
“I am certain that the issues affecting older persons are common across the region and indeed throughout the world. I therefore see an idea of a regional response as a step in the right direction. For one, it would bring the best practices of the region together as a stronger more effective approach. It is therefore my hope that coming out of this conference will be a unified approach to the issues affecting older persons and ideas that could guide policy decisions on the matter… the protection and well-being of older persons is the responsibility of every citizen of every country, hence I charge all nationals of Dominica to take this responsibility seriously.”
Meantime, Director of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Diane Quarless says Caribbean Governments face mounting challenges in dealing with the issues of the elderly.
She says however, the growing elderly population of the Caribbean cannot be left unattended.
“Caribbean Governments are currently shouldering a formidable debt burden. 9 of the countries of the region have a debt to the GDP ratio in excess of 70% which is defined by the IMF as the upper limit of a sustainable debt burden. In some countries that figure is well over 100%. These high levels of sovereign debt severely constrain social spending compromising the ability of public administrations to provide welfare services of the scope demanded.
“Nevertheless the increase in challenges presented by our ageing population are an inescapable reality. We must come to terms with the inevitably and plan more effectively to meet these needs.”
The two day conference has brought together representatives from several Caribbean islands.