Saying local seniors “now have a voice to represent them,” Premier Alden McLaughlin named the 15 members of Cayman’s first Council for Older Persons as part of July’s Older Persons Law.
Passed by the legislature in March and effected in July, the new regulations require Cabinet to appoint a council “to identify and advance senior citizens’ issues” by ensuring “access to services,” “social inclusion,” “anti-discriminatory practices” and “improved care,” including “physical, psychological, social or material assistance,” according to the 15-page act.
Chair of the new council is former People’s Progressive Movement legislator Lucille Seymour. The deputy chair is West Bay activist and community leader Alice Mae Coe.
Efforts to reach Ms. Seymour were unanswered. Ms. Coe, however, said the first council meeting had not been scheduled, but “is most likely fairly soon.”
In a press release, Premier McLaughlin, also Minister for Community Affairs, said “reaching this point has been a milestone and a major accomplishment for the Cayman Islands. The appointment of this council is a significant achievement.”
In July, the Older Persons Steering Committee announced it was seeking six members – 65 years or older, one from each district – for the council, sitting beside seven government appointees, one attorney and a doctor.
“The task force went through the strategic plans and priorities,” Ms. Coe said, “pulling it all together. They called for volunteers and asked me. I said I’d be willing.”
The council comprises representatives from the ministries of community affairs, health, education, employment and gender affairs, and from the Cabinet Coordination Unit. Tempora Wesley will represent the Department of Children and Family Services.
Ms. Seymour represents George Town, Ms. Coe represents West Bay, Reginald Nixon is the member for Bodden Town, Barbara Gee for East End, Esther Patricia Ebanks for North Side and Lana Poldervaart for the Sister Islands.
Attorney Mark Beckford, founder of law firm Mark Beckford & Co., is council legal adviser, and Dr. Eryka Simmons, formerly of Family and Community Medicine at the Cayman Islands Hospital and a master’s degree candidate in clinical dermatology at Wales’s Cardiff University, is medical consultant.
“I commend all who had a part in helping develop the older persons policy, getting it approved and enacting the Older Persons Law,” the premier said, “and I deeply appreciate the members of the council for agreeing to serve on this important board to protect and advance the well-being of our elders.”