AS we celebrate seniors during the coming week, let us reflect on these living miracles in our lives. These grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts, district elders who planted crops, raised livestock, fetched water daily from the river and still managed to send us to good schools. They stretched their dollars to unimaginable proportions and were able to support many of us through tertiary education.
So now we may speak better English than them, and their weary faces and bodies are not as fit and attractive as ours. We may even begin to feel impatient with their slow gait and their fading memory. No wonder the good Lord made it a commandment to 'honour your father and your mother'.
We hear stories of the spoiled child who grows into a spoiled adult, becoming not a supporter of an aging parent, but rather an exploiter. There are too many stories of parents who, having educated their children and seen them into good jobs, are still being looked to for nanny service and, worse yet, regarded as human ATMs. The National Council for Senior Citizens have noted that adult working children have a legal responsibility to parents of post-retirement age. Perhaps we need to make examples of negligent offspring to protect our elderly.
Meanwhile, many small businesses in Jamaica are realising that senior employees are their strongest assets. At SeniorMag.com, we found an article which explained why hiring seniors is an excellent move. Here are some points:
* They comprise a large part of the market: In Jamaica seniors are 11.03 per cent of the population and are projected to grow to 25 per cent by the year 2050, according to a recent study conducted by a team led by Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer of the Mona Wellness and Ageing Centre. Seniors have a preference for being served by their peers.
* They are more in control of their time than those who still have to balance the role of parent.
* SeniorMag.com reminds us that: "Their work ethic is more evolved. Most know the value of a smile and a handshake in making and retaining customers. They have learned that their job is not guaranteed, and that taking care of a customer is far easier than finding a new job."
From my own experience, I have found senior employees to be great mentors to younger team members and, with their years of experience, are more unflappable when faced with challenges. They are also hugely resourceful. One should therefore never view a productive senior worker as someone who is depriving younger folks of opportunities. In fact, they are best equipped to play an important role in business expansion, job creation and on-the-job training.
ECJ tables campaign finance recommendations
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) recently tabled a revised list of recommendations for political campaign financing having taken into account MPs' recommendations after the tabling of the first list in April of this year.
In a press release last Thursday, National Integrity Action (NIA) head, Professor Trevor Munroe stated: "On behalf of NIA I welcome the tabling yesterday of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica's report on campaign financing and call on the Parliament to debate and approve the recommendations as an urgent priority."
The release noted that the regulations would "bring Jamaica more in line with modern democratic governance".
Some of these recommendations are:
* The public disclosure of donors to political parties in receipt of government contracts of over $500,000.00, two years prior or subsequent to an election;
* The prohibition of contribution from "illegal entities";
* The filing of regular reports to the ECJ disclosing identities of donors and of expenditure;
* The public disclosure of donors who contribute over $1m to a candidate or party.
* The provision of power to the ECJ to monitor and enforce campaign finance law, with appropriate penalties, in cooperation with the Office of the Contractor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Contracts Commission, etc.
Those who want better governance for Jamaica should push for these guidelines to be adopted speedily.
Last week we marked the 25th anniversary of that awful day, September 12, 1988, when Hurricane Gilbert sat on top of Jamaica like a giant stalled bushwhacker. Coping with no running water or electricity for three months with a seven-month-old baby was quite a challenge. Back at the office, our trusty zinc roof also stayed on, but we had to revert to the manual typewriter I had inherited from my Dad.
Singer-composer Lloyd Lovindeer captured vividly the trials and tribulations of that unforgettable experience, in his witty Wild Gilbert. It was a time of tragedy and suffering, especially for the less fortunate. Gilbert and subsequently Ivan and Gustav reminded us how important it was to have secure shelters and keep our gullies and drains clean. If Government is not ensuring that this is being done, let us in churches and community groups examine our environment and make strong representation to our parish councils.
'Tuffy's' great equaliser
In her heart-warming letter to the Observer last week, Patria-Kaye Aarons noted that she was surrounded by "a sea of red" in the Stadium stands -- the 2,500 Costa Ricans who bought the high-priced Grandstand tickets without a murmur, their Colon currency double the equivalent of ours when compared with the US dollar. "There was a fire in the Boyz that they didn't have before the moment they realised 'this mess just got serious'," wrote Patria. "Tuffy had that vengeful militant fire too that said: 'Yu neva waan play me? Watch me prove my worth.'"
With grateful hearts we thank Jermaine "Tuffy" Anderson for pulling out that goal resulting in a one-all score, just when we were descending into the valley of despair. Keep fighting, Reggae Boyz!