Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, his colleague Cabinet ministers, members of the Volunteer Corps and others served hundreds of older persons a delicious lunch and engaged them in a number of activities that made their day a truly memorable one.
In his welcome remarks, Prime Minister Harris said that he is always pleased to interact with older persons because they inspire him and have shaped him to be the leader he is today. He assured the older persons that they are loved and valued, and that the government will continue to have their best interest at heart.
“It is our way of giving back to you in remembrance of your excellent service, said Prime Minister Harris. “We ask you to come here on these sacred grounds so that we as a government can say thank you for what you have done in the past and what you continue to do as role models, as exemplars, passing on the values of industry and pride to the younger generation,” he said.
He encouraged the older persons to continue their customary practice of praying for the country and the government because nothing beats prayer.
Minister of State with responsibility for Social Services and Community Development, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, also gave her words of welcome and expressed the importance of service as a public servant.
“This is our simple and small way to say thank you for you service to this country…. when you are in government, it is about service to others. It is no accident that we have decided to keep this function for you on the same day we have deemed to be National Volunteer Day, which would have been the anniversary of when the government would have won the last election in 2015,” she said.
She said that the government will continue to develop this tradition and keep adding different activities that will make the day more memorable for the older persons. She also noted that food will be distributed to older persons who were not able to attend.
“On behalf of the government, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation to join us and to be part of this celebration,” she said, while adding that the event was organized as a part of the National Elder Care Programme through the Ministry of Social Development.
The oldest person to attend the luncheon was Mr. Samuel Depusoir, 103, who hails from the village of Challengers. Several older persons were recognized for the celebration of their recent birthdays: Mrs. Clarita Liburd on February 12; Mrs. Marilyn Richards (Mother of the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Shawn K. Richards) on February 14; and Mr. Calvin Farier and his wife Naomi, whose birthdays were on the same day of the luncheon. Dreamy Décor presented each older person with a flower.
Other Cabinet ministers at the luncheon were Honourable Lindsay Grant and Senator Honourable Vincent Byron. Governor General His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Senator Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Ambassador Jonel Powell were also in attendance. The event was chaired by Acting Director of Community Development and Social Services, Mrs. Ann Wigley.