Do better by our seniors
This is an open letter to the Bankers' Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the Honourable Minister of the People and Social Development.
I am saddened and indeed angry at what what, to me, is the harsh and undeserving treatment which is being experienced by our senior citizens when seeking attention as clients of banks, in particular, even at some branches of banks which pride themselves on looking favourably after the interests of senior citizens by making their stay as hassle-free as possible.
However, even at these, there is still much which can be done.
For example, on Monday, I was able to observe senior citizens being made to stand two-abreast in lines stretching outside the door of one of our pristine banks, so much so that drinking water had to be supplied to senior citizens standing in line.
While this occurrence was, no doubt, an exaggeration on account of the Independence holiday weekend, this is not so unusual.
Indeed it is not uncustomary that senior citizens may, very well, find themselves being made to jostle in line with ordinary clients.
It is clear, therefore, that this country and its people do not, on the whole, seek "to go the extra mile" in making more satisfied, those who had deservedly contributed to its development and welfare in the past.
More needs to be done, and appropriate mechanisms aimed at generating a more consciously sympathetic attitude must be put in place.
In this regard, all establishments, not least those in the private sector, including banks, must be awakened to their social responsibilities and made to act accordingly.
Ever so often, they are heard to pride themselves and to boast of the annual increases in the "bottom line" of their balance sheets. How much is this "bottom line" to be affected negatively by making the senior citizen more comfortable and, thereby, perhaps increasing his or her life span?
I have taken note of recent advertising of the proposed "direct banking and direct payment" mechanism to be put in place by the Ministry of the People and Social Development.
This is awaited, however, notwithstanding its honourable intentions to tighten the travails of recipients.
The Minister and his officials should be made aware of possible lingering suspicion of this method of payment by some senior citizens who are likewise suspicious of using ATM machines. An education programme might therefore be necessary.