December 10, 2023

The Editor speaks: The month to celebrate the elderly

Today, Monday October 1st starts the Month to Celebrate the Elderly who live here in the Cayman Islands.

Yesterday (Sunday) there was a service to recognize our elderly folk at Elmslie Memorial Church where many government officials were present, including Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and MLA Austin Harris who represented Premier Alden McLaughlin. He apologized for the Premier not being there as he is off Island on official business in Monaco.

The message was presented by Rev. Dr. Yvette Noble-Bloomfield and it was of excellent content where she decried why the expertise the elderly have obtained has been mostly ignored and little used.

Harris seemed to suggest the same thing in his speech when he thought the retirement age now raised to 65 should in fact be 70!

This should not be at the expense of any of the very small discounts senior citizens obtain here. I intentionally did not use the word ‘enjoy’. There are precious few of those and most of us in this bracket are penalised especially from all the insurance companies.

Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile), who was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, gave an excellent message commemorating today as “International Day of Older Persons”. Unfornately her message has not been widely carried by the media.

To remedy that I carry it here in full:

All generations have duty to protect rights of ageing society – UN expert

GENEVA (27 September 2018) – The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, pays tribute to all those human rights advocates and heroes of everyday life for their passionate struggle to bring about change in the lives of older people. To mark the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, she issues the following statement:

“In the midst of a demographic revolution, the work of older human rights champions is more important than ever.

We all are duty bound to ensure that future generations – our children and grandchildren – as they grow older, are seen as valuable contributors to society. Young people, those in positions of power today, need to realise that they too will age. It is for them to shape older people’s reality and the future they want. They need to champion this change if they want to escape ageism, discrimination and the denial of human rights in older age.

I pay tribute to all human rights champions, old and young, who tirelessly and passionately stand up for human rights. They insist that untenable conditions be addressed with the proper mix of measures and interventions, in law and in practice, to empower older persons and spur their participation. This is evidence for hope. We need to continue and redouble these efforts.

The future I want includes older people as integral parts of society; older persons actively participating in the formulation and implementation of policies that directly affect their well-being; sharing their knowledge and skills with younger generations; older persons enjoying all their human rights.

To make this a reality, I call on States to step up their efforts to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older people. While it is for them to determine the best way in doing so, I call on them to consider the various proposals that have been made, including the elaboration of a dedicated instrument on the rights of older persons.”


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