Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you are enjoying yourselves.
I am so happy to join you on this lovely occasion of the Tee'l Pre-Cup Match Tea for Seniors in celebration of two of Bermuda’s most important holidays.
Most Bermudians simply refer to this upcoming holiday as Cup Match – an official, island-wide, two-day holiday since 1947, marked by an annual cricket game and held on the Thursday and Friday before the first Monday in August.
Many are happy to retreat from the workplace for the rare 4-day long weekend. Their thoughts are on family, friends, and fun – picnics, beaches, boating and, of course, the cricket and carnival at the annual Cup Match Classic.
But today, as I stand here before you, my thoughts are on the countless hours, days, years – the blood, sweat and tears - you collectively have contributed to the building of the beautiful Bermuda paradise that many Bermudians take for granted.
So while Cup Match is great and easily on our minds - considering this important and historic sporting venue graciously hosting this event - I’m hoping that more of us also reflect on the upcoming holiday meaningfully as comprising Emancipation Day and Somers Day.
Emancipation Day traditionally marked the abolition of slavery in Bermuda. The first slaves were brought here as early as the 17th century and the dreadful slave trade was finally outlawed in Bermuda in the 1830s.
Somers' Day honours Admiral Sir George Somers, whose shipwreck brought Bermuda's first settlers in 1609.
There have been a lot of ups and downs in our history, yet we’ve forged a remarkable society since the 1600s.
As a government, we believe that it is important that we spend more time thinking about our history – a history that involved your efforts to make this island as great as it is.
We simply think it is important to put our seniors first.
Any responsible government safeguards the quality of life for its senior population, reflecting the value we place on them as citizens.
Our government is proud that we introduced FutureCare to assist seniors in their golden years.
As a new administration, we will continue to work with the community to ensure the dignity of life that our seniors deserve.
What does that look like?
- Annual cost of living increases for social insurance pensions
- A Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for seniors.
- Expanded home healthcare benefits under HIP
- Reduced healthcare costs
- An increase in the Prescription Drug Benefit for seniors on FutureCare
- Greater options for assisted living.
- Incentives for more senior care homes.
And we believe there is more we can do, more society should do, to celebrate and help our seniors.
Today is a good day and I am so happy to have the occasion to be with you for this wonderful event. Your hard work and sacrifices are what make Bermuda great!
I hope you all have a wonderful Cup Match.