Policy review to make life better for senior citizens

Submitted by massetti on Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:56

jamaicaobserver.com (12.03.2018) The Government is pushing ahead with the promulgation of a revised national policy for Jamaica's senior citizens that was tabled in the House of Representatives as far back as 1997 by former Prime Minister Portia Simpson.

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Global challenges
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In February last year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration had renewed interest in the policy and that it was being reviewed by his Cabinet.


Holness said then that the aim was “to build a society where older people continue to be actively engaged with their families and communities and are valued as contributing members of the society”.


Last week Tuesday, Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson tabled the green paper for the revised policy in the House of Representatives.


The executive summary of the green paper states that the policy paper reflects the current Government's commitment to pursue social development for all its citizens, and to put in place a dynamic enabling environment to achieve that development.


It says that this is in keeping with Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan and finds synergy with the overall thrust towards economic growth.


According to the green paper, the Government, through the ministry, will be focusing on creating a “responsive programme framework that acknowledges and facilitates the enjoyment of citizens' rights by older persons, while empowering their continued active and productive ageing”.


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“The purpose of the policy is to establish the Government's commitment to broad inclusion of senior citizens in nation-building, recognising the tremendous capacity and resources within the age cohort, and aligning programmes and initiatives to respond to the opportunities and challenges posed,” the green paper states.


It also says that within the framework of global commitments and national goals, the policy envisages that by 2030: senior citizens will live and participate actively in a society that guarantees their rights, recognises their capabilities and contributions, and facilitates their enjoyment of “a life of fulfillment, health and security”.


The main goals include: increased participation of senior citizens in all spheres of the society; improved income security and social protection coverage; adequate and supportive health and welfare systems; improved independence, security and safety; enhanced family support systems and community solidarity; and strengthened institutional and infrastructural networks for partnership, collaboration and governance.


The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is the Government's lead body in the development and implementation of the policy, and the main department through which policy and programme implementation will be monitored is the National Council for Senior Citizens NCSC).


Funding for strategies and programmes in support of the policy will largely be secured through the budget to various ministries, departments and agencies, and support to NGOs.


The NCSC will require specific budgets to carry out implementation, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation. Funding support will also be mobilised from the private sector and civic bodies in relation to specific initiatives.


“It is anticipated that international development partners will be guided by the policy and accompanying programme of action in their programming of resources to social development and social protection,” the policy paper stated.