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02.07.2003 Regional News

Senior citizens urged to express views on government policies

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Sunyani July 1, GNA - Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, on Tuesday urged senior citizens to freely express their views and opinions on government policies and their implementation to enhance national development.

The Regional Minister, who was speaking at a party organized by the Regional Coordinating Council for senior citizens on Republic Day in Sunyani, also asked retired workers to put their knowledge and experience at the disposal of the authorities and the country in general.

Nana Seinti said President John Agyekum Kufour had given assurance that the government would seek the welfare of the aged since they deserved such gratitude for their role in nation building.

He appealed to senior citizens to join the crusade against indiscipline, which he said resulted '' in low morals and crimes such as armed robbery and drug abuse and profane language portrayed in songs and indecent dressing, which are consuming the youth of the country."

The Regional Minister appealed to senior citizens to ensure that the youth refrained from attitudes and behaviours that could destroy their lives and tarnish the image of their families.

Nana Seinti stated that government was aware of the plight of the aged in the country, especially public civil servants and security personnel and gave the assurance that government would seek their welfare in due time adding that '' a country that does not honour and seek the welfare of its senior citizens is not worth working for.''

He said senior citizens have played an effective role in the nation's development and deserved to be given better treatment, honoured and accorded the needed respect.

The Regional Minister expressed regret that the extended family system, which gave protection and comfort to the aged "is gradually dying away" partly due to the migration of the youth from the rural to the urban centres in search of greener pastures.

He said: '' The migration of the youth has deprived the aged in our rural communities of the needed care from their relations.''

Nana Seinti said the situation was no better in the cities and urban centres where pressures of life keep people away from home for hours leaving the aged to care for themselves.

He regretted that the state had not been able build enough Homes for the aged as compared to some advanced countries.

Nana Seinti, however, commended non-governmental organizations that had shown concern for the aged and expressed the hope that their welfare policies adopted by the government would include construction of Homes in the regional capitals.

Some of the senior citizens appealed to the government to ensure that the free medical care as promised them would be implemented in government hospitals. They also called for peace and amicable solution to land and chieftaincy disputes some parts of the country.

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