Old age pensioner: Over the past few days there were debates in and out of Parliament on the credibility of the Old Age Pensioners current register.
Many years ago like so many others after studies abroad we returned to serve our country rather than remain in the motherland. Most, if not all that I knew got very good jobs of a managerial nature, and were able to provide a comfortable living for their families, including savings and a home which came a few years later. And not omitting a car and holidays abroad. We bought land in what is described as residential areas for approximately $6000-7000 and that today is worth about $10M. However, with our savings during the Burnham/Hoyte era, the IMF had prescribed a medicine for Burnham to give the nation, but he agonized over the repercussions. Anyhow, during Hoyte’s term we got the medicine in doses (tranches) which was increasingly painful with each ‘tablespoon’ as Guyana tried to realign its currency. It was devastating in that our savings were virtually worthless, and depending how soon one retired life was difficult. The Old Age Pension paid during the PNC was regarded as a stigma, because of the small amount. Today many of us welcome it with the other assistance given. I should point out that the diaspora grew as Guyanese left during the food shortages, but a few remained to be termed today old age pensioners.
There is no way that any government could have indexed our salaries to the cost of living. That is the situation that many of us found ourselves in; even though retired we face huge medical bills and still have to maintain our homes.
Sometimes life places us at a level that precludes us from seeing the stark reality of hardship at the bottom, even with respect to those who live in these so-called residential homes.
I trust that there are more pressing issues than the register to engage these letter writers.