Old, but dignified
That’s why it has produced the White Paper on Aging and will implement other policies to help these Barbadians, Minister of the Environment Dr. Denis Lowe said today.
Speaking as debate on the White Paper on Aging continued in the House of Assembly, the Christ Church East MP said the aging policy being discussed was grounded in a Democratic Labour Party philosophy of caring for and about people.
“Policy grows out, or ought to grow out, of a philosophy, there must be some guiding philosophy that causes us to contemplate what policy initiatives we wish to bring on board and out of those policies then grow our programmes,” he said.
“And this document is a document that reflects on philosophy, it reflects on policy and then of course it reflects on a number of programmes that we intend to put in place or that have already been put in place on the behalf of our older citizens in the society.
“Yes we agree that Barbados is becoming an older population and that in and of itself really is a triumph for Barbados. Obviously we are doing some things right where we are providing an enabling environment for our citizens to have a longer life and they are experiencing a greater journey of longevity in the society and that is important I do believe,” he added.
Lowe said this was also a reflection of Government’s intention and commitment “to create what I call a domain of dignity for the elderly”.
“There was an emerging view in our society not too long ago when young people were saying they are not too interested in living long, but we now have flourishing examples of Barbadian men and women on whose shoulders this nation has been built, we have flourishing examples of our parents who gave their very best, sometimes in the most difficult of times, to build a strong and resilient society,” he stated.
“So that today we as policy makers can look forward in building a platform of policies to help in the latter days of our lives to ensure that we will have a restful, peaceful journey in to the great beyond.
And I believe that if we take pride in who we are, if we understand who we are, and if we embrace all of the virtues of human dignity, and if we focus our gaze on what needs to be in order for us to have a society where men and women of all corners of this island can look forward to working towards building out their own sense of hope…, then we would have done our part, and we would have laid the carpet … to walk on on the twilight in our years.”
Lowe also wanted Barbadians in general to recognise the contributions elderly citizens had made to the country’s development.
“I hope and pray that as we continue to move forward in this society, in the construction and further development of this society, that we have a place for all, so that even the private sector in their commercials and advertising of products I long to see some older and graceful Barbadians who would have built some of those same companies having a time to say ‘we were there and we are still here’,” he said.
“That is what it is really all about. At the end of the day we pass through this hall, we spend any number of days in here, we help make policy and so on, but … the real gratification of life is to be able to look back on our trail and say ‘ am so happy I passed that way’.” (SC)