The Minister Responsible for Social Services on the island, Mark Brantley, has described the program as “a critical initiative; an important initiative for Nevis.”
He told the senior citizens that he hoped the initiative will provide some relief to them and that it will make their lives a little easier, in this now the winter of their years, so that they can live out those years in a bit more comfort.
The initiative will see senior citizens being exempted from the payment of electricity and water fees. He said he would wish for them to use their savings to do cover other expenses and to meet other responsibilities.
“Who knows, maybe you will give an extra contribution at church with it but at least you know you don’t have to come in to NEVLEC anymore and you don’t have to go to Water Department’s step anymore. That’s a commitment made to you and a commitment kept to you,” said Brantley.
Speaking at what was called the official launch of a free utilities initiative by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) through the Ministry of Social Development, Seniors Division, Brantley said it was a critical and important one for the island’s eligible seniors and one that he believes would be copied in other islands.
The brief but significant ceremony was attended by five seniors who are part of the first 68 who will receive free utilities from October. They were Ms. Hazel Harris, Ms. Cynthia Abbott, Ms, Christina Nisbett, Ms. Celestine Byron and Ms. Blondina Thompson.
The Senior Social Development Minister also noted that he looked forward to the second and third phase of the initiative in which all the eligible seniors for the programme would begin to benefit from the free electricity and water programme.
“You may naturally ask what about the others who are over the requisite age and I am told that those phases will happen next month and the month after so that by Christmas, all the seniors who fall within the category will be accessing free water and free electricity,” he said.