Senior citizens visit

THA Chief Secretary Orville London hosted senior citizens of Mt Grace and Harmony Hall, Tobago on Friday (December 16 2011) at his Calder Hall Office.
The Tobago House of Assembly is looking at building one or two senior citizen homes at the Adventure Estate.

THA Chief Secretary Orville London disclosed this to the 50 senior citizens of the Mount Grace/ Harmony Hall area, who visited with him at the Calder Hall Offices.

The visit was part of a series of activities organised by the Mount Grace Village Council for the community’s elderly during the Christmas season.

London noted to the group that “predictable care for senior citizens is one thing we must do better in.” He added that the Assembly did not want to stifle private initiative and was trying to find a balance where they will provide the necessary advice or support for privately owned homes.

Of course access to healthcare is always a burning issue with the elderly. It was therefore no surprise when the issue of the completion of the Scarborough Hospital arose.

London gave the assurance that Hospital will be delivered as soon as it is ready. He explained that the structure is near completion and would be handed over to the Assembly as soon as the Ministry of Health completes the installation of furniture, fixtures and fitting. He said this process should finish by March 2012. Following which, the Assembly would complete the commissioning and the majority of services can start.

Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan came up for commendation by the Chief Secretary. London said. “I think it was quite graceful of him for apologising for not delivering as they had indicated in the Budget”. He said that the Assembly had always known that it was not possible and had made the point that the Hospital could not be delivered at that point in time. He added though that the Assembly would continue to collaborate with the Ministry to provide this long awaited hospital to the people of Tobago.

The group also voiced their concerns about the new old age pension and National Insurance provisions in the National 2012 Budget.

But it was clear that the Chief Secretary was beloved by this particular group, when Lydma Daniel exclaimed to the sounds of affirmation from her friends: “I just want to say I love you. You are so humble and down to earth. I want to say thank you for bringing us here and may God bless you and give you good health.”

London indulged in some light bantering with the senior citizens as he encouraged them to be keepers of Tobago’s heritage. He said the 50 persons together represented over 2,000 years of service to the island and they must be recognised and appreciated. “One of the ways that you can continue to contribute is to contribute to the development of the character of Tobago, he encouraged them.

Earlier in the visit London had reminded the group that being around for a long time puts them in a position to understand the kind of development that had taken place in Tobago, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. He told them “You are the ones who have to tell the stories; you have to tell them about the sacrifices.”

The group toured a number of historical sites on the island. Later they would be treated to a hamper distribution, lunch and entertainment at the recently refurbished Mt Grace Community Centre.

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