Seniors who picketed Social Security Scheme say they felt ‘empowered’ by their participation

Residents who took part in the picket of the Social Security Scheme yesterday, November 30, say they are happy not only with the turnout, but with themselves.

The protest, deemed a “big success” by organizers and participants, took place on upper Long Street and spilled over onto Cross Street.  It was a peaceful event, despite a brief confrontation with what one person describes as “an overzealous police officer,” which was soon quelled.

Several seniors tell REAL News they “enjoyed” themselves immensely and say they felt “empowered” by their participation.

“Every day can’t be the same! One day you have to get up and stand up for yourself,” a woman in her 70s says. 

She adds that she was elated to see many younger residents at the protest, alongside those from her generation.  “People wake up now,” she observes, “and dem a talk out!” 

A man from the countryside says his heart was warmed, as well, to see the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidates rallying with the pensioners, and to make the  acquaintance of several radio personalities.

The protest action was coordinated by the Candidates in response to the plight of pensioners, whose Social Security payments have been late for many, many months now, plunging hundreds of seniors into financial hardship – and one man even into court.

Speaking specifically to the hard realities the elderly face, one placard read:  “Granny haffu nyam … Buy soap … Buy toilet paper.”

“Our people are so creative.  Me see a man with a placard with the image of a real dog in a red shirt and a hat on his head, saying, “The dawg must go!” a woman recounts in amusement.  She says many of the placards expressed the same anti-Gaston Browne sentiment.

On another note, she reports that, while on the picket line, she and other seniors were encouraged to go into the Social Security office and sign in, which they did.

“I was so glad that me nah have to go back in town just now,” she tells our News Room.

At present, the majority of pensions are said to be paid up for September and October.  This was due to an injection of $10 million from a CDB loan taken by the Browne Administration.

However, pensioners say they will not be pacified, given the Scheme’s long history of disappointing them; and so they are already asking about their pensions for November, which ended yesterday, and early payment for Christmas.