Centenarians’ lives online
Barbados, a world leader in producing centenarians, will now have an online record of their story of building the nation.
The Centenarians of Barbados – The Foundation Builders, a Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) website, was launched yesterday to document the names and lives of the island’s most senior citizens. The site, a collaborative effort among the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, the Barbados Museum and the BGIS, was presented at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa in Christ Church.
The launch comes as Barbados sits high on the world index with the number of centenarians per capita.
Based on 2016 figures from the now defunct National Committee on Ageing, 114 people over 100 years old were alive. This works out to about 39.9 centenarians per 100 000 people. This puts the nation second only to Japan in the ratio of centenarians in the population.
Between 1991 and 2017, Barbados was home to 600 centenarians.
In a recorded address, former chairman of the National Committee on Ageing, Sylvester Niles, attributed centenarians’ longevity to hard work, a healthy diet, exercise and a deep commitment to God.
Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Alissandra Cummins, said the local centenarians are a “unique source of knowledge” which tells “where we were, where we came from to where we are”.
Acting Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs Dwight Sutherland praised the website as not only an archive but as a contribution to greater national consciousness which mobilises research and exposes Barbadian culture to the world.
Sutherland said he hoped it would inspire Barbadians to be “constructively curious, to be innovative, to explore how they can advance information technology, or how they can use it in entrepreneurial undertakings”.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde committed her ministry to providing financial assistance to maintain the site, “because that is critical to what we do and when we are hushed by God, it will be there”. (DB)