The enactment of new, specific legislation to reflect Guyana’s commitment to the United Nations “Principles for Older Persons” and a variety of related international conventions has lagged behind the growing needs of this important section of the population.
The UN “Principles” address the issues of independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.
There are provisions for the elderly included in five existing pieces of legislation in Guyana.
Article 24 of the Constitution of Guyana states that “every citizen has the right to free medical attention and also to social case in case of old age and disability.”
There is also the Old Age Pensions Act which stipulates that persons who are citizens of Guyana for at least 10 years, have attained the age of 65 and have been ordinarily resident
in Guyana during a period of 25 years immediately preceding the claim for old age pension, may receive such benefits.
The National Insurance and Social Security Act also provides that old age benefits may be paid to persons who have attained the age of 60 and are insured under the Act while previously gainfully occupied in the public or private sectors or have been self-employed.
The Poor Relief Act states that “the aged and infirmed persons are entitled to financial relief from the state funds if they are destitute and unable to earn sufficient for their maintenance.”
Then there is the Maintenance Act which provides that children are required to maintain their parents and grandparents who by reason of old age or bodily or mental infirmity are unable to maintain themselves.