BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – WITH St. Kitts and Nevis kicking off the Month of Older Persons under the theme “Stepping into the Future: Tapping into the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society”, Minister of Gender Affairs Hon. Wendy Phipps wants people to join in and see “the importance and value of older citizens by staging an entire month of activities that celebrate ageing and the invaluable contributions of our senior citizens.”
In a statement to kick off the month-long activities in celebration of International Day of Older Persons, the Minister noted that this year’s theme might be seen as somewhat lengthy, but “it teems with meaning for the holistic development of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis”.
She noted that as such, the theme is also futuristic and requires a retrospective look at where the nation came from, while acknowledging the critical role of senior citizens in the Federation’s ongoing development at the social, cultural, economic and political levels.
The Federation has, for a number of years, joined the rest of the world in celebrating the accomplishments of older people, and this year is no different.
Phipps said, “The theme is therefore a declaration of the imperative for inclusiveness of our senior citizens in everything we undertake, given the various gifts, talents, skill sets, money, labour, love and sacrifice they would have invested in their families, other people’s children, their communities, jobs and churches, and the economy.”
In celebrating older people, the Ministry of Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs has planned a number of activities throughout the month of October, which include a Spa Day, Church Service and Picnic event.
Moreover, Minister Phipps stressed that as the Federation celebrates the 2017 Month of Older Persons, people should be mindful of the inclusiveness of the senior citizens in the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Phipps, those goals are set to be accomplished by 2030, taking into consideration matters such as Healthcare; Education; Protection of the Environment on Land, Sea and Air; Governance; and Strategic Partnerships that are required to achieve all of the goals.
“However, within the context of the SDGs,” she explained, “the UN has identified two core objectives for the 2017 celebration of our world’s population of older persons.
1. Enabling conditions/measures that influence the readiness of older persons to participate, including securing healthcare, regular income, legal protection and access to financial services.
2. Creating pathways to facilitate contributions and participation in old age, including technology, education and lifelong learning, access to information, as well as overcoming barriers that exclude or discriminate against older persons.
To this end, the Minister stated it is evident from the objectives that the UN member states, including St. Kitts and Nevis, “must make consistent and concerted effort to include the needs, voices, concerns and challenges of older persons in every decision that is made regarding our national development. In short, these objectives call for consultation and inclusiveness of our senior citizens in everything that we do as a Nation, if the gains of growth and development are to be enjoyed by all, including our senior citizens”.
Activities for the Month of Older Persons commenced on Sunday (Oct. 1) and will conclude on Tuesday (Oct. 31).