Tuesday, Jul 23rd

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Editorial - Sooner or later

The governing programme of the UP-led coalition, although presented rather late in the day, contains a few interesting points (see related article). Several social aspects are mentioned, including caring for the ageing population.

The latter will be addressed with “holistic measures” and a “monitoring agent” has been recommended to ensure certain standards in the public health sector. Benchmarks regarding norms to regulate transport of older folks also must be set and dining facilities congregated for social interaction, offering a nutritious meal to the elderly.

All these good intentions appear in stark contrast to the picture painted by St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) Vice President Raymond Jessurun in today’s report about his presentation at a United Nations (UN) conference of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing in New York earlier this week. Using concrete examples he illustrated how the local care for a growing number of persons suffering from dementia leaves a lot to be desired, certainly when compared to what is readily available in the Netherlands.

The same argument of disparity within the kingdom has been made before concerning the old age pension allowance, at which time it was pointed that residents in the European part also pay higher taxes and social premiums. However, medical treatment is quite another story because it directly involves people’s wellbeing, including possible matters of life and death.

Whether these differences in health care infrastructure and quality constitute a violation of human rights by the Dutch may be the subject of further debate, but one can hardly call it a desirable situation. Truth be told, sooner or later such basic discrepancies indeed should really be eliminated.