The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) has announced several events in the pipeline marking its quarter-century milestone, declaring it will continue to work with Government and other agencies as it seeks a better quality of life for Barbadians on the verge of, or currently enjoying, their golden years.
Speaking to the media today as the organisation launched its 2020 calendar, BARP president Marilyn Rice-Bowen said: “This year, we plan to work with other non-Governmental organisations and Government to make life easier for older people, on matters such as pension payments, access to medication and elder abuse advocacy.
“We also want to place some emphasis on consumer protection.”
On the issue of consumer protection, she said they primarily wanted to look at the labelling of food products.
Rice-Bowen said: “We have found that with some items, for example bottled coconut water, there is only one entry saying ‘coconut water’ on the ingredients list, and there is not even a contact number for the supplier.
“We are particularly concerned about this because our members need important information such as sugar and salt content, especially those with non-communicable diseases.
“This is a matter we have already addressed with the Barbados National Standards Institution.”
The BARP president said while a shelter for elderly people who were homeless was not presently on the cards, the association wanted to do more for those who lived alone, especially in light of the fire over the weekend which claimed the life of an 81-year-old woman.
She said: “We recognise that some want to stay in their own homes, but we need to come up with a roster system that will enable people to stay with them at night.”
On pensions and elder abuse, the BARP President stated that the organisation had held meetings with the Ministry of Elder Affairs over the past year with follow-up meetings planned within the coming months.
Regarding the 25th anniversary celebrations, Rice-Bowen noted that the bulk of the activities would take place in October, BARP’s anniversary month, which coincided with the We Gatherin’ events planned for Christ Church, the location of its office.
“And we have an open day planned for that month, and by then we should have rolled out a few more projects which some of those returning for We Gatherin’ might be able to get involved in,” she concluded.
The organisation has printed some 30,000 calendars, which will be available through Massy Stores, Eddie’s Trading, Carlton and A1 Supermarkets and the City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union Limited.