Marchers celebrate International Day for Older Persons.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis –- More than 100 older persons marched through the streets of Charlestown, Nevis, on Oct. 5, as part of a packed month of activities to commemorate the Month of Older Persons, and in “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions,” the United Nations (UN) theme for the International Day for Older Persons, celebrated on Oct. 1 annually. This year, the UN marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Marching with the older persons were a number of primary school children and senior government officials. The march started from the Longstone Wall to the Elquemedo T. Willett (ETW) Park where the older persons were treated to lunch and entertainment.

Minister of Community Development in Nevis, the Honourable Eric Evelyn, while addressing those at the march, said that he hopes that older persons continue to come out in great numbers for the activities to follow for the rest of the month.

“The month will not be successful unless you are a part of the activities, so I want to encourage everyone to come out in numbers to all of the activities,” Evelyn said.

Acting Director in the Department of Social Services and Community Development, Mrs. Ann Wigley, applauded the older persons for coming out in numbers, especially the over 80 persons who came over from St. Kitts to join the march and thanked the Nevis team for its long-standing partnership and collaboration over the years.

“I would like to say thank you to all the seniors, especially my group from St. Kitts,” said Ms. Wigley. “It has been 17 years now that we have been going back and forth with each other and I thank you for having us.”

According to the UN “Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60,” said Ms. Wigley. “By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth.

“With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is clearly required. Just as important, however, is the essential contribution the majority of older men and women can continue to make to the functioning of society if adequate guarantees are in place. Human rights lie at the core of all efforts in this regard.”