Premier: Charter For Rights Of Elderly & Adults

July 12, 2019 | 5 Comments

Premier David Burt tabled the Bermudian Charter of the Rights and Responsibilities of the Elderly and Adults in Need of Long-term Care and Assistance in the House of Assembly today [July 12].

The Premier said, “The Charter is designed:

  • to be a reference document setting out the fundamental principles and rights that are needed for the wellbeing of all those who are dependent on others for support and care due to age, illness or disability.
  • to raise awareness for individuals and the community of people’s fundamental rights and responsibilities who have long-term care needs and to foster best practices; and
  • to complement and support other measures which are already implemented or in development.

“This Government is taking care of seniors. In addition to this Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, we continue to respect the ability of some senior citizens to continue in the workforce.

“As the Order Paper will reflect, legislation has now been tabled to increase the retirement age in the Public Service from 65 to 68, preserving the ability, on certain criteria, to work until age 70. Working people of whatever age contribute to the economic activity of a society and where people can work beyond the traditional age of 65 then they should be able to.

“It is this Government that pledged to increase senior’s pensions each year by the rate of inflation, and it is this government that has delivered on that pledge for the past 2 years – ensuring that our seniors’ income keeps pace with inflation. Promise made, promise kept.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, the importance of ageing well and ensuring truly golden years for senior citizens is a priority for this Government.

In our 2017 General Election Platform, the Progressive Labour Party undertook to “review the laws to reflect international best practices to enact a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for seniors.” Our goal is to recognise and respect the rights of people who became more dependent on others due to ageing, illness or disability and to ensure they lead a lives of dignity and independence.

Mr. Speaker, under the leadership of the Honourable Member, the Deputy Speaker, The Hon. Derrick V. Burgess who is the Chairman of the Ageing Well Committee, and with the technical input of the Ministry of Health, I am pleased today to have tabled for the information of this Honourable House The Bermudian Charter of the Rights and Responsibilities of the Elderly and Adults in Need of Long-term Care and Assistance.

Mr. Speaker, in short, I am also pleased to deliver on the promise that we made.

Mr. Speaker, The Charter is designed:

  • to be a reference document setting out the fundamental principles and rights that are needed for the wellbeing of all those who are dependent on others for support and care due to age, illness or disability.
  • to raise awareness for individuals and the community of people’s fundamental rights and responsibilities who have long-term care needs and to foster best practices; and
  • to complement and support other measures which are already implemented or in development.

Mr. Speaker, The Charter has been developed based upon international and local standards and has been adapted from the European Charter of the Rights and Responsibilities of Older People in Need of Long-Term Care and Assistance to suit Bermuda’s needs. Whilst advanced under the auspices of the Ageing Well Committee within the Cabinet Office, significant input had been received from the Ministry of Health to ensure that it did complement existing regimes as intended.

The Charter includes 10 Articles including:

  • Right to dignity, physical and mental well-being, freedom and security
  • Right to privacy
  • a. Right to private life
  • b. Right to private information and communication
  • Right to high quality and tailored care
  • Right to continued communication, participation in society and cultural activity
  • Right to palliative care and support, and respect and dignity in dying and in death

Mr. Speaker, This Government is taking care of seniors. In addition to this Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, we continue to respect the ability of some senior citizens to continue in the workforce. As the Order Paper will reflect, legislation has now been tabled to increase the retirement age in the Public Service from 65 to 68, preserving the ability, on certain criteria, to work until age 70. Working people of whatever age contribute to the economic activity of a society and where people can work beyond the traditional age of 65 then they should be able to.

Mr. Speaker, it is this Government that pledged to increase senior’s pensions each year by the rate of inflation, and it is this government that has delivered on that pledge for the past 2 years – ensuring that our seniors’ income keeps pace with inflation. Promise made, promise kept.

Mr. Speaker, We also continue to take care of war veterans and their spouses. These men and women were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in support of their Island home and we thank them for their service. The Order to increase war pensions from $800 to $1000 per month is similarly on the Order Paper and I wish to make Honourable Members aware that this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the deployment of the 1st Battalion, Caribbean Regiment [Bermuda Contingent].

Three overarching themes drive the Charter tabled today: dignity – rights and – responsibilities. As a society we should be judged by how we take care of our most vulnerable. The adoption of these ideals marks an important step in creating a greater awareness around a key and growing demographic in our community.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I am pleased to advise Honourable Members that in addition to Mr. Burgess as Chairman of the Ageing Well Committee and myself, I was truly honoured to invite Ms. Molly Burgess to sign this Charter on behalf of Bermuda’s seniors. As a champion of the rights of workers and all people in this country, it is only right that her decades of fearless service are marked in this way. Her signature now bears witness to the realization of another landmark achievement in securing rights for Bermuda’s people, and in this case a very special segment of Bermudians – our seniors.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Charter is designed to be a reference document setting out the fundamental principles and rights that are needed for the wellbeing of all those who are dependent on others for support and care due to age, illness or disability.”

    And now I will repeat my question from yesterday. Is the Charter supposed to be a legal document (fundamental principles and rights) or is it just politicking (a reference document)?

  2. Rocky5 says:

    Try using this “PLP Charter” to buy your groceries!!!

  3. Bolt Action Rifle says:

    Seniors be getting all worked up thinking they getting a free Charter flight………..

  4. donderd says:

    see he got this done before the new Health insurance amendment act hits which increases copay for future care!

  5. PANGAEA says:

    Are the Government telling me that seniors have had a bad deal or no deal for all these years ?

    I Thought that the human rights act was supposed to cover all that, if not, then why not?

    What is being done about the economy? all it takes is a few bright ideas !

    The angry aggressive driving public make trouble ! are they sending a message to the hill at their own peril !

    America cup was big success , all that is required is to match it.

    Pink sandy beaches and bussing our visitors are not enough .

    A revised bill of rights and selling our shoes are not going to put food on the table.

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