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New state-of-the-art bus for Golden Years Centre

New state-of-the-art bus for Golden Years Centre


by Audwin Andrews Fri, Oct 14. 2011

Senior citizens from Georgetown and surrounding areas who attend the Golden Years Activity Centre at Black Point no longer have to depend on public transportation to get there, as the centre now has its own coaster bus.{{more}}

The bus, valued at EC$93,000, was donated by the National Insurance Service (NIS) and officially handed over during a ceremony at Black Point Activity Centre on Tuesday, October 11.

There was a large turnout of senior citizens from both the Cane Grove and Black Point Golden Years Activity Centres.

Executive Director for the National Insurance Services (NIS) Reginald Thomas told the audience that “this occasion is one that was long in coming”.

“You the residents here at Black Point, you indicated that you were experiencing transportation difficulties in getting here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

So now we have a spanking new vehicle for you, which takes account of all of your needs. Those who are a little challenged and those who need assistance to lift their feet to get in the bus, we took all of this into consideration. You just have to press a button and you will be lifted to your seat, and that’s the quality of life that we want you to have,” Thomas told the senior citizens. This brought about a large round of applause from the audience.

Also addressing the ceremony was Chairman of the NIS Board Lennox Bownam who advised the senior citizens to make full use of the new bus.

“We have one for the Leeward and now one for the Windward. Use it as an opportunity to get together to socialize. As you get older, you don’t want to be at home alone, just listening the radio. You want to come out and share what you have.

“So I encourage you again to take advantage of this bus in getting out to the centres, and I want you to know that the National Insurance Services will always be here,” the Chairman said.

Meanwhile, Area Representative and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves delivered the keynote address at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Gonsalves, in his address, said that the addition of the bus to the Black Point Centre will increase the turnout of senior citizens from the surrounding areas for the three days of activities at the centre.

“Three days a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we have activities here. On Thursdays when they have the exercises, you have thirty-some thing elderly persons here, that’s quite a significant number.

However, you would have more, but the problem is, of course, that a number of persons want to come, but they can’t make it because of transportation,” the Prime Minister stated.

Gonslaves, who is also Minister with responsibility for social security, went into more detail, outlining some of the challenges that the elderly face when using public transportation to get to the Centre.

“If a mini-bus is taking you from Georgetown or South Rivers, they are going to leave you off at the gap and you have to find your way in. Sometimes, you may have a problem walking properly, or you may have a wheel chair and you may not be able to get it in the van.

Sometimes the mini-bus man will tell you: “Old people take too long to come up in the bus…” So we have to correct that, and how are we correcting this? With this bus,” the Prime Minister said.

Following the various speeches, the key for the bus was handed over by the Prime Minister to Emily Ryan, the Administrator of the Black Point Golden Years Activity Centre.

Ryan said that over the years there has been a decrease in the number persons attending the Centre because of transportation, but “with this bus we are going to see an increase again.”

Some of the daily activities at the Centre include devotional and motivational sessions, arts and crafts, exercises, health checks, and outdoor activities.

There are two Golden Years Activity Centres for senior citizens in St. Vincent. One is located at Cane Grove and the other at Black Point. Both facilities were constructed by the National Insurance Services.