REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
SENIOR CITIZENS MONTH OPENING CEREMONY AT THE
MOORING MARINER INN
MONDAY, MAY 4, 2015
“Get into the Act: BVI Seniors on the Move”
A pleasant good morning to everyone here, all seniors and visitors who are with us.
Each year I look forward to the commemoration of Senior Citizens Month when we, as a community, pause to celebrate the work and contributions of our seniors. It is a time when we remember and pay tribute to your efforts to create the Virgin Islands that we know today.
Our Golden citizens are near and dear to my heart as national treasures and a wealth of knowledge for our people.
What a delight it is to sit and learn at the feet of our seniors as they unlock the treasures of our history, values, sayings and traditions with their stories and daily habits.
As a doctor and with a family of my own, I also benefit from the nuggets of wisdom and experience shared by my seniors. Quite often I receive advice from my brother, who is now a senior as well, about how to treat various conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
This year’s theme is “Get into the Act: BVI Seniors on the Move.” This theme resonates with me since it clearly shows that BVI seniors are proud to be active and engaged in their communities and families.
This fact was especially highlighted a few years ago when we all learned from the seniors’ participation in the General Knowledge Challenge. We had nine teams from throughout the Territory proudly demonstrate their knowledge in ten categories, namely: Bible, Centenarians, Cultural Traditions, Cultural Expressions, General Knowledge, Men in Society, Performing Arts, Political Leaders, Significant Dates and Events and Women in Society.
It is always remarkable to see the levels at which our seniors are able to recall historical events and occurrences. Just last Christmas, they helped to ring in the season with a variety concert, once again sharing our Territory’s culture in song, poetry and dance.
So today I am quite pleased that we are celebrating the people who are part of the fastest-growing demographic in the world. According to the traditional definition, a senior citizen is anyone older than 60 years of age, but this seems relatively young in societies today! When it comes to new technologies, adults above the age of 55 represent 65 percent of all “early adopters” and users.
Let us take this time to show that we value our seniors. We recognise and acknowledge your hard work. We have learned from your resolve and we will continue to honor them for setting the stage in building a strong society.
When we speak with you, our seniors, we learned that this community was built on collaboration, teamwork and unity. Where each one mentored and taught many, and many helped several.
Towards this end, we welcome you in assisting with preserving our culture and history for generations to come. We welcome your expertise in passing on vital valuable skills such as cassava bread making, basket-weaving, doll-making and more. Our seniors are vital and instrumental with building an even stronger British Virgin Islands.
That is why my Government will continue to ensure better care for all our senior citizens.
We will continue to find ways to strengthen the Senior Citizen Programmes.
We are committed to building a Home for the Elderly.
We will continue to create opportunities to utilise the skills and energies of an increasingly healthy and active senior citizen population.
We will continue to work on instituting special incentives and concessions to promote and make alternative care, flexible and residential services available for the elderly.
We will continue to work on ways to provide community care for those seniors who live at home alone.
We will remain focused on building a better social and economic support for our seniors. As a Government that takes care of its people at all stages of life, we remain committed to protecting the core services that support our seniors.
Seniors, I know that you will continue to achieve your aspirations. Continue to lead by example in making daily prayer and meditation a priority; and ensure that you maintain good health by walking, enjoying regular sea baths and dancing, when possible.
I congratulate the Minister Skelton and his team at the Ministry of Health and Social Development Department for continuing the tradition of observing this month. I hope that everyone come out to enjoy the activities that are planned.
On behalf of the Government, I invite you to join me in raising a toast to all of our senior citizens. May God continue to bless and strengthen you throughout the rest of your life’s journey.
I thank you.