June 4, 2023

Cayman Islands Older Persons Press Conference

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screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-12-33-28-pmHonorable Osbourne Bodden, MLA
Minister of Community Affairs, Youth & Sports
Statement on Cabinet’s Approval of the Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy, 2016-2035 (CIOPP)

Monday October 31, 2016

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this Press Conference. Today I am proud to state that on Friday October 21, 2016 Cabinet Approved the Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy, 2016-2035. Cabinet also acknowledged the Report of the Legal Subcommittee, authorised drafting instructions for an Older Persons’ Bill and approved the formation of an Implementation Planning Task Force to be chaired and coordinated by the Cabinet Office. This plan is expected to be finalized within four months of the approval period of the Policy.
This continued work will require a multi-disciplinary approach and accordingly, members from civil society, the private sector and Government agencies are being appointed to serve on the Implementation Planning Task Force, to be Chaired by the Deputy Director, Policy Coordination Unit.
As I have stated, the Terms of Reference for the creation of a Steering Committee to develop an Older Persons’ Policy for the Cayman Islands was noted by Cabinet in November 2015. The purpose of this Steering Committee was to advise the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth & Sports on all matters regarding the development of an Older Persons’ Policy for the Cayman Islands for a twenty year period, 2016-2035.
Under the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009, older persons are afforded the same rights and protections of all citizens but unlike the rights and protection of children and persons with disabilities, currently no policies or statutes explicitly address the rights of older persons. The Constitution recognizes that the needs of each and every individual are of equal importance, and the Cayman Islands should ensure resources are employed so all its members have an equal opportunity for participation and inclusion.
With Cabinet’s authorization for drafting instructions, a Bill will be brought back to Cabinet for consideration in early 2017. This legislation will create important legal framework or proceedings, actions and decisions concerning older persons to respect their dignity, ensure fair and equitable treatment and provide protection against any form of unfair discrimination.
It will also establish the Older Persons Council whose functions and responsibilities will be to: promote the needs and welfare of older persons; monitor policy implementation; and advocate for legislative reform where necessary. The Council will comprise older persons, civil society stakeholders and public/private sector representatives.
The development of this Policy was in keeping with the United Nations Principles on the Rights of Older Persons to advocate for all Older Persons to have independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity. The Policy is also informed by the Government ‘s Broad Outcome #12, as stated in its 2016/2017 Strategic Policy Statement that a National Policy on the elderly was to be developed with accompanying legislation and resources to ensure the rights of elderly are protected and their needs are addressed in the community. Note also that the Implementation Plan for the Public Services Review of the Department of Children and Family Services – Efficiency #10 called for the drafting and enacting of enabling legislation for the elderly”.
The Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy, 2016-2035 policy encompasses all aspects of an older person’s life, including health, community involvement, legal protection and much more. The vision we hope to achieve through this Policy is to “advance the well-being of older persons in the Cayman Islands.” The community including public, private and civil society all has a role to play in valuing, respecting and empowering all older persons to live secure and fulfilling lives.
Given recent amendments to the retirement age [Public Service Management (Amendment) Law 2016, Personnel (Amendment) Regulations 2016, and the National Pension (Amendment) Bill 2016] older persons will be recognized as persons who attain 65 years and older.
At this time, I will invite the Chair of the Steering Committee and the Legal Subcommittee of the Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy – Mrs. Deborah Webb-Sibblies to speak to the justification of the goals and strategies of this Policy. Following her statements, the Director Policy Coordination Unit Mr. Robert Lewis will speak to implementation planning and further steps toward making implementation of the Policy sustainable.
Statement of the Chair, Steering Committee and Legal Subcommittee
Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy, 2016-2035
By Mrs. Deborah Webb-Sibblies
Thank you Honourable Minister Bodden. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen:
In the development of the Policy, the Steering Committee was guided by the previous work completed by a DCFS-led multidisciplinary team, informed by the United Nations Principles of Older Persons, our Constitution, international legislation and regional policies, local legislation and reports on the care and welfare of older persons.

The Steering Committee also promoted and solicited feedback from a wide cross-section of stakeholders. Input was well represented and received through the collaboration with the Labor Force Survey by the Economics and Statistics Office, via a Cabinet approved rider survey on Attitudes Towards Older Persons in March 2016. Further, much input was obtained from: a stakeholders’ workshop held this July; seven focus group meetings with older persons held this August; and a follow-up stakeholder’s meeting held three weeks ago.
In the held discussions, the identified issues impacting older persons included: the need for older persons to be recognized as a distinct group requiring attention in human rights legislation and the need for specialized care; for bed bound and bed ridden older persons to have access within their homes to health care and supportive services, access to adequate food, water and shelter. Also identified by stakeholders: older persons need to have access to continued education and employment opportunities; they need to be able to benefit from family care in their homes, families and communities; they need to remain integrated in society and have equal opportunities to participate in policies affecting their lives and welfare; and they need to be protected from any form of abuse, exploitation and much more.
So, as we worked with stakeholders from various venues on these issues, they were provided with opportunities to make recommendations on how to address these challenges. Accordingly, the five goals within this Policy reflect feedback received from stakeholders.
The Policy speaks to the rights and entitlements of older persons and for them to have access to adequate food, water, shelter and health care; access to justice and legal services; appropriate continued education and training; community-based care and support services; cultural, recreational and spiritual opportunities to pursue self-fulfillment; safe transportation; to live out their lives with dignity; equality and discrimination; to have freedom of expression; and based on their legal capacity to make decisions about their care and quality of life and remain protected in their homes.
In summary, the goals, strategies and aims of this Policy focus on addressing and achieving the following:
(i) Goal 1 speaks to the promotion of independence of older persons in their districts and communities while having access to adequate food, water, shelter, clothing through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help.
The supportive strategies aim to improve and extend access to the health and social needs of older persons, as well as addressing the need for older persons to remain mobile in their communities and the society.

(ii) Goal 2 Advocates for older persons to remain integrated in society while participating actively in the formulation and implementation of policy affecting their well-being.
The supportive strategies advocate for expansion of opportunities for older persons to engage in national, cultural and community activities, to remain in the labour force and have opportunities to remain engage in lifelong learning opportunities.

(iii) Goal 3 Advocates for older persons to benefit from family and community care and protection, while accessing social and legal services to enhance their autonomy, protection and care.
The supportive strategies aim to identify the need to establish a wellness and preventative care approach for older persons and strengthen the culture of family care.

(iv) Goal 4 speaks to Promoting the need for older persons to pursue opportunities for achieving their full potential while accessing educational, cultural, spiritual and recreational resources.
The supportive strategies aim to conduct community needs assessment and identify the barriers hindering older persons accessing services.

(v) Goal 5 hopes to achieve the protection, security and dignity of older persons by addressing the financial, physical and social needs of older persons.
The supportive strategies aim to address financial security, family values, safe infrastructure, and security for the benefit of older persons. It also aims to address abuse and equitable treatment of older persons.

In closing, I extend heartfelt appreciation to all members of the working Group of 2010-2011, the 2016 Steering Committee and the Legal Subcommittee, as well as the stakeholders who participated in all meetings and stakeholders’ workshops. On behalf of these Committees, I extend appreciation to the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth & Sports for providing us with the opportunity to develop this Policy.
Statement of the Director, Policy Coordination Unit, Cabinet Office
Cayman Islands Older Persons’ Policy, 2016-2035
Good afternoon all. It’s been said that Governments are good at developing policies that end up being shelved, in other words, unsustainable. It is hoped that the approaches taken with this Policy will disprove this notion. In this regard I will briefly cover what happened and is expected to happen toward ensuring the Policy is implemented.
First, as you heard, the Policy was developed via PARTNERSHIPS between older persons, civil society, private sector and Government representatives on the Steering Committee. In other words, the Policy was developed by stakeholders, not by Government per say. This ensures that BUY IN by beneficiaries and service providers is at the forefront before the Policy is approved by Cabinet. I would also like to echo Debbie’s thanks to Steering Committee members who accomplished much in such a short time.
Second, while being championed by the current administration, the 20 YEAR LIFE OF THE Policy – to be supported by legislation – spans multiple administrations, so it is anticipated that the Policy’s Vision of “ADVANCING THE WELL BEING OF OLDER PERSONS” should be important for many years to come, irrespective of who is in office.
Third, some policies have been shelved or partly implemented because either there were no follow-up or little implementation planning after the Policy was approved. As you heard from the Minister, Cabinet approved IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING to be carried out by partnerships between key stakeholders on a Task Force.

The implementation plan will identify: necessary actions to effect strategic aims; lead entities for actions, including partnerships where necessary; timelines; resources; targets and progress or success indicators. The implementation plan is to be supported by a monitoring plan.
All of the above may sound good, but as you know, it’s been said that THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS.
So, this begs the question, what else can help to make a difference, which leads to the Fourth point: a WATCHDOG legally empowered to monitor Policy implementation and aid holding Policy implementers accountable. This watchdog will be the Older Persons Council, which is expected to be cemented in Law, thereby legitimizing its role as a Champion for advancing the well-being of older persons. The Council will also have the authority – informed by its monitoring role – to evaluate implementation and recommend changes if necessary. Finally the Council is expected to play a key role EDUCATING THE PUBLIC on the benefits of addressing challenges faced by older persons, toward a more just and healthy society.
Lastly, advancing from Policy to LEGISLATION should ensure progress toward attaining the Policy’s Vision, Goals, Strategies and Aims.
To summarise – needless to say – POLICY SUSTAINABILITY, especially for a national policy such as this one, is not by accident. It can only happen through sustained championing, effort, monitoring, evaluating, changing as necessary, and – most important – partnership among older persons, civil society, private sector and government stakeholders.

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