As economic restructuring efforts move ahead, a former senator, Pastor David Durant, is calling on policymakers not to cut the special services provided for the elderly and vulnerable in society.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY during the annual Christmas luncheon for the elderly and disabled individuals, at his Restoration Ministries, Brittons Hill, St Michael Church, Durant said that it is no secret that harsh measures are being put in place by the current administration to recover an ailing economy.
But the Reverend, a former Government senator in the Freundel Stuart administration, is pleading with authorities to do all that is possible to protect the elderly, homeless, differently abled, and other vulnerable groups.
“We must never remove that protection that is needed. That fabric must remain in place, it must not be broken, so that those vulnerable groups can maintain a sense of security, protection, comfort, and feel safe with us.
“We able-bodied men and women, have to protect these individuals and be their voice. So let us not forget them at this time of austerity and restructuring. Whatever that can be done in this restructuring programme, to make it easier for them, or better for them, let’s make sure we put that in,” he said.
Every year, scores of elderly and disabled individuals, are treated to a Christmas meal and concert, organized by Restoration Ministries.
“We bring them together at this time of the year for a time of celebration, to spread joy, cheer, love and to show them compassion. Some of them are experiencing challenges with neglect, and abandonment so as a church; we try to maintain throughout the year that we fill the gap. We visit them and share with them, and at the end of the year we do something extra,” Durant said.
After the meal and concert, attendees were presented with gifts.
Durant apologized for the absence of Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde, who was attending Cabinet, which meets in regular session on Thursdays.
He also extended apologies for the Chairman of National Assistance Board (NAB) Dr Sonia Browne, who was also missing because of other engagements. (AH)