CAR­ING FOR THE EL­DERLY IS A GOV­ERN­MENT PRI­OR­ITY

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Lu­cia’s High Com­mis­sioner to the United King­dom, His Ex­cel­lency, Am­bas­sador Dr. Ernest Hi­laire, joined Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs, Plan­ning and So­cial Se­cu­rity, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony, on a re­cent visit to Com­fort Bay Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Home.

The visit was oc­ca­sioned by a do­na­tion of £10,000 be­ing handed over to the Prime Min­is­ter for on­ward pre­sen­ta­tion to the res­i­dence for the el­derly, lo­cated in Black Bay. The amount was raised by the Saint Lu­cia High Com­mis­sion after its Gala Din­ner and awards night last June. The black-tie af­fair was at­tended by Saint Lu­cian na­tion­als res­i­dent in the United King­dom, diplo­mats, Bri­tish gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, in­vestors, tourism rep­re­sen­ta­tives and High Com­mis­sion staff.

Am­bas­sador Hi­laire pointed out that due to the iden­tity of the spe­cial guest at the gala din­ner, an ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of money was do­nated by those in attendance. Upon hand­ing the cheque over to the Prime Min­is­ter, in the pres­ence of Com­fort Bay man­ager, Mrs. Gertrude Gus­tave, and mem­bers of staff at the Home, Dr. Hi­laire out­lined the gen­e­sis of the do­na­tion.

“We dis­cussed [with the Prime Min­is­ter] the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of a char­ity, of an event, or any spe­cial cause that he felt was dear to his heart that he would want us to con­trib­ute funds raised from that gala din­ner, as his show of support for that ini­tia­tive. He sug­gested to us that we should con­trib­ute what­ever monies we make to the Com­fort Bay Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Home. And I think in many ways, it was a state­ment of his own ac­cep­tance of the im­por­tance of the role that you play in the south of the is­land, and of course, his own view of the im­por­tance of care for the el­derly in Saint Lu­cia.”

In re­ceiv­ing the cheque, Dr. An­thony thanked the Saint Lu­cian com­mu­nity in London for their gen­eros­ity. He noted that the monies would be de­posited in the Con­sol­i­dated Fund, with spe­cial in­struc­tions that it is ear­marked for the use of Com­fort Bay. Speak­ing on the eve of his birth­day, the Prime Min­is­ter pointed out the im­por­tance of the work be­ing done by in­sti­tu­tions like Com­fort Bay. The staff in par­tic­u­lar came in for ful­some praise, Dr. An­thony say­ing to them that their work “is re­ally a labour of love.” He re­minded his au­di­ence that car­ing for the el­derly, a pri­or­ity for his Gov­ern­ment, is the shared re­spon­si­bil­ity of the state and the wider so­ci­ety. In that re­gard, he said, the re­cently im­ple­mented home care pro­gramme for the aged has been a real boon.

“We have al­ways needed a link be­tween what it is you do here [at Com­fort Bay] and what is hap­pen­ing in the homes. And I hope that now that this home care pro­gramme has been fully es­tab­lished in our com­mu­ni­ties, we can have a bet­ter sense of ex­actly who are the ones who are very vul­ner­a­ble. But at the same time, pro­vid­ing that home care pro­gramme, [we know] that those who are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of that pro­gramme would feel they are now be­ing looked after, they are not left on their own, they are no longer des­o­late and cast aside.

“There is one thing about Saint Lu­cia we must never ever for­get; we may have our own is­sues, but we are a loving and com­pas­sion­ate so­ci­ety. Some­times we don’t know what our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are, we for­get those re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, be­cause we al­low the tem­per of the times to take hold of us. But we must never ever for­get the foun­da­tions that ex­ist, and we must never ever ever for­get that the binds of love that bind us to­gether must be re­spected and ap­pre­ci­ated. And we must never ever dis­own the his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity that truly be­longs to us.

“You are very spe­cial peo­ple with a spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity and I cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate what you do, the com­mit­ment and love that you share so freely with those who are given the op­por­tu­nity to make here their home.”

Mrs. Gus­tave said that the do­na­tion, equal to just over EC$40,000, would go to­wards ex­pand­ing the scope of ser­vices avail­able at the Home, in­clud­ing the pur­chase of ex­er­cise equip­ment, and to fa­cil­i­tate train­ing in phys­io­ther­apy for the staff. She also took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the Prime Min­is­ter, the High Com­mis­sion, and all who con­trib­uted.

Com­fort Bay Man­ager Mrs. Gertrude Gus­tave re­ceives cheque from PM An­thony

as St Lu­cia’s High Com­mis­sioner to the UK, Ernest Hi­laire looks on.

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