MESSAGE BY THEMINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HON. RONNIE W. SKELTON
IN OBSERVANCE OF SENIOR CITIZENS’ MONTH
“Seniors Blazing The Trail For 2016”
Fellow Virgin Islanders and friends, in May of each year we take time to reflect and pay homage to our Senior Citizens in recognition and appreciation of their invaluable contributions to our families, communities, and society.
Many persons in this category would have dedicated over 40 years of their lives laboring at home and in the workforce to build up our community to the point where we could achieve the level of economic and social progress we enjoy today.
While some older persons may be slowing down because of declining health and physical limitations, their wisdom and expertise continues to be of tremendous value to preserving and improving our way of life.
This brings to mind the importance of ensuring that, as a society, we make proper provisions for elderly persons to be well looked after in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Some older persons have children who are seniors themselves, and grandchildren that are engaged in active employment. We must therefore give special recognition to the many family members, Home-care Workers, Geriatric Aides, and other care-givers that provide assistance and support to older persons on a daily basis.
Many of our Seniors remain actively engaged, mentally alert, and in good health well into old age. In fact, there is a new generation of older adults who lead vibrant and active lives, and must be encouraged and supported to continue working, or to engage in voluntary activities, for as long as they are physically and mentally able to do so.
Roosevelt Smith; Eugenie Todman-Smith; Audley Maduro; Kather Smith; Quincy Lettsome; Rosalia Gardener; Romalia Smith; Eugenie Glasgow; Ena Callwood; Joyce Chinnery; Mariette Fahie; Doris Brathwaite; and Edwin ‘Speedys’ George are but a few of the many names that come to mind when I think of extraordinary Seniors. There are many other older adults throughout the Territory on whose shoulders the stability of churches, families, businesses and social institutions rest. They are the embodiment of this year’s theme for Senior Citizens’ Month: ‘Blaze a Trail.’
Their spirited efforts at staying vibrant are the very thing that keeps our Virgin Islands strong and enables its continued growth and development. We acknowledge them as Trailblazers, and we thank them for adapting to a rapidly changing world while keeping our society grounded in values that are so pivotal to its success.
I encourage all seniors living in the Virgin Islands to follow their positive examples and live out the popular saying, “Don't just count your years, make your years count.”
In closing, as your Minister for Health and Social Development I am honoured to declare May 2016 as Senior Citizens’ Month, and I encourage everyone to support the activities being spearheaded by the Social Development Department.
May Jehovah continue to pour out His blessings on our treasured Seniors, and these beautiful Virgin Islands.