Listen to wisdom of elders, officials say

| 02/10/2013

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is participating in a month-long celebration of older persons and the national theme this year is 'Listening to Our Older Persons', which recognize themajor contributions that senior citizens have to make to our community and the need to keep the older folks vibrant and involved in society. Speaking at a special lunch at UCCI to launch the celebrations, back bench government councillor Alva Suckoo said that without the contribution of seniors the people would lose their connection to heritage, culture and a sense of who they are, and he pointed to the wisdom they have. “Our seniors are equipped with a wealth of knowledge. All we have to do is ask them,” he said.

A key focus of the annual observance is to ensure that adequate opportunities are in place to keep seniors vibrant.

“Although many continue to make a positive difference through voluntary work, we need to create permanent and sustainable activities for older persons so they can maintain active contributors to society," said Jen Dixon, the director of the Department of Children and Family Services.

In his message to mark the month long celebrations, Premier Alden McLaughlin said seniors presented a wealth of experience and skills. “We can tap into this resource by creating activities for our older people, so they can remain in the mainstream longer,” he said.

For further information on Older Person’s Month or for a full list of activities, please contact DCFS at 949-0290, or visit

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    New administration but some things have not changed.  Yeah, officials travel in cheaper seats and the new Premiere seems more diplomatic than Bush (which is not exactly a big accomplishment because that could be said of just about anyone). The Cayman Islands government is still rife with inconsistencies and poppycock. The subject of this story takes the cake in light of the sheer hypocrisy relative to government's policy of implementing and encouraging age discrimination. 

    On one hand government  is all about making fluffy sentimental statements and speeches regarding the value of our senior citizens and how we should strive to keep them active and involved. On the other hand official government policy mandates just the opposite and enforces age discrimination aimed at older workers.

    A good way to keep seniors active is providing them with employment! Nice idea, eh? Problem is our government mandates putting an employee out to pasture once that person amasses one-too-many candles on their cake.

    Today sixty, even sixty-five, is far from doddering old age. I know of many people in their sixties and seventies who are sharp as a tack and more physically fit and active than many youth in their twenties.  These mature ones usually have far more experience and wisdom, and exhibit vastly better judgement than those who replace them after they are forced into retirement.  We loose a valuable resource and our government is rendered poorer and less efficient every time a capable and experienced senior is booted out of ajob.  I realise that many a person of retirement age is more than glad to pass the torch and enjoy retirement, but I also know of many who were slapped out of their post but would have liked to stay on and work. They should be given a choice if indeed they are so esteemed and valuable as the rhetoric contained in this story claims.

    Enlightened jurisdictions have scrapped mandatory retirement age altogether, recognising it as what it is, age discrimination. The Cayman Islands is still in the dark ages in this regard.

    May I suggest that one great way "to create…sustainable activities for older persons so they can maintain active contributors to society" is to keep them in their jobs if they want to work!   It would seem that this fact has escaped the Premiere, so I proffer this: one way to ensure that senior citizens "…remain in the mainstream longer" is by not forcing them to retire if they are capable of carrying out their duties. One of Makeeva Bush's more egregious hallmarks was to say one thing while his government's policy went in the opposite direction. Et tu, Alden?

    Here is my interpretation, my distillation, of the speeches and government's retirement policy relative to Older Person’s Month: "Yeah, you seniors possess a wealth of experience and skills, but we don't want  or need you in meaningful jobs with government anymore because you're too damn old. We dont like old people in government jobs, ok? It is good that you can volunteer somewhere when you need to feel useful.  If you get all down and feeling unworthy about being trampled over because you're old, you can always join in on Older Person’s Month and come and listen to the Premiere's great speeches about  how much we value all you oldsters. That should make you feel lots better about being marginalised and slapped out of jobs because of your age!" 

    Bottom line: Government and the administration are just spouting tripe about esteeming the value of our older people as long as government continues to bash down seniors by forcing healthy, mentally sharp, experienced mature civil servants out of their jobs when they are willing to work on and capable of performing as expected. 

    Physician, heal theyself!  Cast out the beam in thine own eye…etc, etc.