Senior association plans to end year strong

POSTED: 10/9/12 1:03 PM

St. Maarten – Barely two years old, the St.Maarten Senior Citizens and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) has been a dominant voice in championing the rights of the elderly and aligning itself with other grassroots organizations for social development on the island. However the group shows no signs of slowing down under the leadership of Patricia Flanders, who on Sunday night was honored by Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin, and its passionate first Vice-President passionate drs. Raymond Jessurun.
Jessurun told Today that from now until February, SMSPA has a packed calendar of activities to fulfill in order to continue representing the elderly at every political, legal and social forum available.
As a member of the Regional Civil Society Grouping of Latin America and the Caribbean (CORV), SMSPA is soliciting regional and international solidarity in fighting injustice and discrimination towards Dutch Kingdom citizens in the Caribbean.
The organization plans to participate in the second and third meetings for solidarity from civil society with CORV leadership in October in Chile and November in Argentina.
In January, the SMSPA hopes to attend the Kingdom Conference on Freedom from Poverty in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Aruba where they plan to make an impression on the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation being held there. In February, the United Nations Social Economic Council will meet to evaluate the Madrid International Action Plan on Aging. SMSPA plans to be there as well.
In the meantime, the organization is busy preparing letters on behalf of civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean in observance of International Day for Eradication of Poverty on October 17.
Last Wednesday, the SMSPA held a seminar at the John Larmonie Centre under the theme Towards Equality for Seniors in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
At that forum, drs. Jessurun spoke on The Tres Rios Declaration and the San Jose Charter on the Rights of Older Persons. He emphasized the importance of the two international statements in terms of equal rights of Dutch citizens.
He also identified four challenges to an appropriate standard of living for seniors; “equality of medical care, affordable and accessible care for all in case of sickness, the state Old Age Pension (AOV-AOW) and Social Aid (social allowance) as security for lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond ones control.”
He suggested that government “guarantee also the right of older persons to participate in civil society organizations and in councils, as well as in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies which affect them.”
Chairman of the St. Maarten United non-governmental Federation (SUNFED) Alberto Bute said that the “struggle for equality is struggle from seniors, children, grandchildren from all of us” while speaking as a panelist at the event.
October 1 was observed as International Day of the Elderly but commemorative activities are being held throughout the month.

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