Sir Roy’s case for the elderly
Independent Senator Sir Roy Trotman says Barbados should take note of the Madrid and Brasilia declarations if it truly wants to make elderly participation and human rights a part of its development.
He said the Madrid Declaration of 2002 not only emphasized effective collaboration between national and local governments, international agencies and the public and private sectors, but also the involvement of older people and their organizations.
Stating that such participation by the elderly was essential to Barbados’ development, Sir Roy said what the Madrid Declaration was tryng to get across a decade ago was that ageing should not be addressed by a government alone but that teamwork, full collaboration and cooperation at the local, national and international levels was essential.
Speaking during debate in the Senate yesterday on the White Paper On Ageing, Sir Roy said it was grounded in equal opportunity and access, with the aim of delivering more efficient service to and for the elderly.
“Society cannot be built by one group separate and distinct from another, but groups have as units to work together to give full satisfaction and benefit to the society as a whole. This shared vision must be a vision shared by all sectors, all ages, and from all walks of life,” he said, noting that the Madrid Declaration was “going in the right direction”.
“We have to provide for adequate representation by older persons with the relevant expertise, knowledge and skills on any policy review body or key decision-making bodies in the implementation of the policy on ageing . . . .
“We have to involve a number of people to ensure that what we’re giving doesn’t amount to a form of patronage or tokenism that may in fact frustrate the recipient or make the recipient feel like less than a full participant and full actor in the society in which he or she is living,” he said.
Regarding the Brasilia Declaration of 2007, the veteran trade unionist urged Barbados to support this by emphasizing a more inclusive, cohesive and democratic approach that abhors all forms of discrimination – including age-based discrimination – and to strengthen mechanisms that promote solidarity between generations.
“Ageing increases the demand for the effective exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms at all ages,” he said, adding that several people in this country were victims of all forms of discrimination.
“They are legion! Political discrimination, colour discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, trade union membership discrimination . . . too-young and too-old discrimination, you name it,” he said.
Sir Roy said this level of discrimination must be carefully noted because it called into question fundamental human rights. (RJ)