|PROComm Administrattive Director Hubert Chin presents his company's major sponsorship to CCRP Board Member Lester Spaulding. Looking on is Honorary Director Prof Sir Kenneth Hall|
New group to push for welfare of retirees
Jamaica Observer | Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) was launched in Kingston Tuesday, with promises to push for the welfare of retirees in the region.
Jean Lowrie-Chin -- founder and chief executive officer of the organisation -- said the association will, among its work, be lobbying on behalf of its members for environmental safety, building guidelines, legislation on pension and taxation, as well as concessionary rates for credit cards and utility bills.
"They (the members) also want us to ensure that they are included in the job market, because a lot of retired persons say we are still healthy and have so much to contribute, so will you help us to maximise our professional potential," she said.
Addressing participants at the launch held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Lowrie-Chin said further that the association also intends to establish a skills bank of retired persons.
"On Sunday, I registered a retired bank manager who said, 'I took my rest and I am ready to work again, so please put me down as a member of your skills bank'," Lowrie-Chin said.
She said the association will also be partnering with the Ministry of Health to ensure there are strict guidelines for the running of homes for the elderly, while the Guardsman Group will be assisting with some of the technology to help to monitor some of the services.
In addition, the organisation said it would be working to ensure that retired persons are given a chance to contribute to national and regional development, and serve as a unified voice for its members.
The association has already attracted some 75 members and a growing list of corporate sponsors, with the aim to have 1,000 members in the first year and 5,000 within three years.
According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, there are presently over 450,000 persons in the 50-plus age group in the island with indications that the fastest-growing cohort of the population is 65 years and older.
Former Governor General of Jamaica and honorary board member of CCRP, Sir Kenneth Hall, told the launch that the statistical growth of the retired population has not been matched by the growth of institutions and the provision of services to cater to their particular needs.
"It is widely acknowledged that retired persons are healthier, more educated, professionally experienced and capable of contributing to the social and cultural capital of the country," he said.
To realise their full potential, Sir Kenneth said appropriate organisations must be available to acknowledge this vital resource and mobilise it to contribute to Jamaica's development.
This is a sector of the population whose skill and experience are sorely needed. The Gov't should offer them roles as consultants to the various Ministers, since they have no clue what they are doing right now. I am sure they would appreciate the additional income, now that their pensions are being stretched to the limit.
If this group can do no more than get concessionary rates on utility bills for the elderly then it will have done a great job.
If this government does not do more for the elderly then it will have found at election day that it has overlooked a large voting bloc.