NIA’s free utilities initiative; one way of looking after island seniors, says Jr. Minister Brandy-Williams

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 15, 2013) — Junior Minister responsible for Social Development in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, said it was the government’s responsibility to look after its seniors and the new free utilities initiative for them was one way of doing so.

 One of the first 68 recipients to benefit from the free electricity and water initiative Ms. Hazel Harris, 84 of Brown Hill
One of the first 68 recipients to benefit from the free electricity and water initiative Ms. Hazel Harris, 84 of Brown Hill

The Minister’s comment came when she officially launched the three tier initiative at the Nevis Electricity Company Limited’s (NEVLEC) Customer Service office on Main Street, on October 14, 2013.

“It is the government’s responsibility to look after our seniors and this is one way in which we are doing so. This is only a representation of the number of persons who will benefit and we are indeed grateful for having you here this afternoon at very short notice. It is an indication of your continued activity and continued participation in the programmes we have planned for seniors…

“I would like to reassure those persons that they are not forgotten. Their tier would be next month November and in December and by December 31st all seniors 65 years and older would have been covered. With that said, I would like to pronounce this launch officially open,” she said.

Seniors from throughout Nevis, 80 years and beyond who lived alone and had no fixed income would benefit from the free electricity and free water programme and Mrs. Brandy-Williams spoke to the remaining tiers of the programme.

“This is a three tier project and today we are rolling out the first 68 seniors who are beneficiaries of this new initiative. This tier involves those citizens 8o years and older. Next month we will roll out 70 to 80 and then the following month 65 to 70 and so at the end of the year we would have covered all the senior citizens who are eligible to benefit from this programme,” she said.

In response, one of five recipients who was present at the ceremony and was among the first 68 recipients in the first tier Ms. Hazel Harris of Brown Hill, 84, registered her gratefulness for the initiative.

“I would like to say first thanks to the Lord because it is he who I believe put it in the hearts of those who came up with this plan for the seniors. Thank all of you and may God continue to bless you and give you the wisdom you need to continue your work in the proper way.

I would like to say on behalf of all of us here as seniors, thank you for thinking of us. I personally want to say a very special thank you because I was telling the Lord the electricity bill is too high. I didn’t mind the water bill because that wasn’t high but where I am living presently I said ‘Lord, why is this electricity bill so high? You have to do something about it.’ Thank the Lord he has done something about it by using you to offer the seniors what you have offered us. Thank you and may God continue to bless all of you and thanks to the Nevis Island Government because they said it and they have put it into practise. God bless everybody. Thank you all,” she said.

Other remarks came from NEVLEC Representative Customer Service Manager Mrs. Gillian Vaughn, Manager of the Nevis Water Department Mr. Roger Hanley and Coordinator of the Seniors Division, Ministry of Social Development Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development Mr. Keith Glasgow.

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