Some of Barbados’ centenarians share the spotlight with management of the Barbados Government Information Service and representatives of the Barbados Museum and the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs at the launch today. (R.Brooks/BGIS)
A website dedicated to celebrating the lives and legacy of Barbadian centenarians was launched today.
Centenarians of Barbados – The Foundation Builders, is an informative and interactive site, which highlights the milestones of Barbadian centenarians, at home and in the diaspora.
Through photographs, videos and the written word, the contributions of over 100 senior citizens are now preserved on history’s page.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, lauded the project, which was co-developed by the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), the now defunct National Committee on Ageing, and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.
“Our senior citizens, who are the bedrock of this tiny, but great island, which has received world recognition in many spheres, deserve to be recognized and celebrated in a monumental manner. They have made untold sacrifices for this nation and we are elated that many of them have lived long enough to see, and I hope enjoy, the results of their blood, sweat, tears and labour. Their work has provided the foundation for the phenomenal transformation that we have seen in this island and that many of us enjoyed, without even thinking about how we got here,” she said during the website’s launch at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa, at Rockley, Christ Church.
Stating that Government and the people of Barbados must be committed to ensuring that centenarians were accorded “just recognition”, Minister Forde disclosed that the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs would provide the financial assistance to maintain and update the website.
Emphasizing it as a great achievement and blessing to live to 100 years old, she said Barbados’ story of longevity is the second best in world when it comes to centenarians.
The Elder Affairs Minister further lauded other government agencies that contributed over the years to honouring centenarians.
She highlighted the work of the Barbados Postal Service, which immortalized 27 centenarians through a limited edition of postal stamps in 2016, in commemoration of this island’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.
She also praised the quality of care provided by staff at the Geriatric Hospital at Beckles Road, St. Michael, which currently houses 13 of the island’s centenarians, as well as the Gordon Cummins District Hospital, at Rock Hall, St. Thomas, which previously celebrated six centenarians in one year.
“No longer is that stigma associated with our geriatric hospitals as alms houses. They have quality care, excellent members of staff and groups that visit them to make sure that the ageing are comfortable…. Sometimes, we cannot do it alone for them in our households, …but our district hospitals and private nursing homes, many of them if not all, are doing an excellent job and the National Assistance Board is lending support from behind, to ensure that quality care is extended to those who would not have the access to those various institutions,” Minister Forde outlined.
Persons interested in providing names of Barbadian centenarians, whether at home or in the diaspora, may complete the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website, call the BGIS at 535-1900, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shamkoe Pile BGIS