Georgetown, Guyana – (December 14, 2019) President David Granger and First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, yesterday afternoon, feted more than 200 senior citizens at their annual Christmas luncheon and gift distribution exercise in the Baridi Benab at State House.
Elderly persons from Regions Three, Four, Five and Ten, including from the Holy Family Homestead, Ivy Hall Memorial Home, St. Thomas Moore Men’s Home and eleven other geriatric homes gathered in Benab for the fete.
In his welcome remarks to the seniors, President Granger told them that they deserved to be recognised as the contributions that they have made to nation-building are invaluable.
“You have worked hard all your lives and you are entitled to a comfortable retirement…We are always inspired by the contributions that previous generations have made. We didn’t get here by accident. A lot of people struggled by working hard in the public service and in the private industry and what our children are [and] what they will be in the future depends to a large extent on what you have made them,” he said.
The President said the event is one which he and the First Lady look forward to hosting every year to honour senior citizens for their service to Guyana. He also said that despite the challenges during the year, the Government will launch the ‘Decade of Development 2020-2029’ which will see revenues from the petroleum sector being used to improve service and development and provide more opportunities for nation building.
“When I think about oil, I don’t think about wealth; I think about every child going to school. I think about free education. Our government is trying to build an education system which encourages young people to qualify for running this country…What we have here is what we inherited from you and your grandparents and what we leave behind… will be a legacy to what we have done and what we have been able to hand over to them. I look forward to seeing comfortable Guyanese, satisfied Guyanese and that is where the oil money will go. It will go into education; it will go into employment; it will go into greater equality; it will go into ensuring that our environment is clean and protected,” President Granger said.
The Head of State also reminded the gathering that his administration continues to work on policies and programmes that will see them benefitting more under his Government.
He said that old age pension has moved from $7, 500 in 2010 to the $20, 500 to date. The figure, he informed is likely to increase in future.
The President also announced that the senior citizens will be welcomed back to State House in February 2020 for another luncheon to celebrate Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary.
Meanwhile, the First Lady, in her remarks, extended best wishes for the season to the senior citizens. “This, as you know, is something that we started a few years ago to have our senior citizens invited to lunch at State House in recognition of all that you have done to make life better in Guyana… I want you to enjoy yourselves and I wish you a happy Christmas,” she said.
As is customary, the senior citizens were served by the First Lady, Minsters of the Government, members of the Luminous Women’s Group and the cadets of the Felix Austin Police College.
Ms. Afuwa Granger, daughter of President and Mrs. Granger; Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minster of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence; Minster within the Ministry of Communities, Ms. Annette Ferguson and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mrs. Valerie Garrido-Lowe also attended the event.
Entertainment was provided by steel pan player, Ras Camo Williams.