Categorized | National News

Older Persons Bill Being Drafted

New legislation is expected to be drafted to ensure that older persons receive equality.

The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development have taken its first steps to drafting the Older Persons Bill, which according to Governor General CA Smith, will codify rights long denied to older persons, thereby bringing The Bahamas in line with United Nations principles of older persons.

The governor general told an audience of young and old, during the thanksgiving service to kick off Older Persons Month, that one of those rights is the right to independence.

“That is having an income sufficient to ensure that your basic needs for food, for shelter and for health care are met,” Mr. Smith said.

“These rights will also include the right to participation. That is you ought to be given the opportunity to have a voice in decisions that affect you and allow you to contribute positively in your community affairs.

“These rights also include the right to care, to health care, proper institutional care, the care of the family and the protection from abuse.”

Mr. Smith added that these rights also include that of self-fulfillment and the right to dignity.

The governor general also told the seniors that treatment must be the same for all and that there must be a commitment to ensuring this equality.

“We must commit to bringing attention to the fact that old age inequality does exist in our country. We must commit to recognizing the urgency for dealing with existing inequalities so that future old age inequalities can be prevented,” Mr. Smith said.

“We must commit to reviewing changes that need to be made that would level the playing field for all citizens. And we must commit to reflecting how best to change negative stereotypes of old age and eliminate the old age inequality.”

Passionate about older persons, former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Italia Johnson, chairperson of the National Council on Older Persons, remarked that she is pained by the treatment of older persons and welcomed the drafting of the Older Persons Bill which she says will eliminate seniors not being afforded their full rights.

“It [the bill] will ensure that your rights are addressed with penalties attached for violating your rights,” Mrs. Johnson said.

“You have rights. We live in a country of laws and when those rights are violated, penalties will be imposed.”

Older Persons month will be celebrated during the month of October under the theme, “A Journey to Age Equality”.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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