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Monday, 19 April 2010 10:00

THE establishment of constituency councils will assist existing community groups in Barbados that are in need of resources and support.

Leader of the Project Advisory Team, Dr. Ivan Henry, noted that there were 1 816 community organisations in Barba-dos, but, “Most of these organisations ... are starved of resources, indeed our communities are littered with the skeletons of organisations that spring up, wither and die for lack of support.”

Henry was delivering remarks at the launch ceremony of the first phase of the programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday afternoon.

“The constituency councils of Barbados will not only give representation to these organisations, but will also throw them a lifeline of resources to empower them,” Henry said. Speaking to the problem faced by community groups, he said if these organisations were empowered to solve the problems they sought to tackle, Barbados would be an entirely different place.

“These organisations should celebrate the launch of a new system of local governance that has the capacity to, one, build on existing organisations within the community; two, take democracy to grassroots institutions; three, recognise the historical importance of community; fourth, take forward the best of community life; and fifthly, bring Government closer to the people,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Chris Sinckler, spoke highly of the project, noting that they would add to the structure, tone, and quality of participatory government in Barbados.

The first six councils are to be launched in Christ Church South, St. George South, St. James North, St. Michael North, St, Michael North West, and St. Philip South. The Minister encouraged Barbadians to take ownership of their Government, stressing that the democratic tradition could not survive if only a small segment of the population managed public affairs.

Sinckler also believed that the councils would serve as an important proving ground for persons that are interested in political life.

“Through the mechanism of these councils we have the opportunity to expose a whole new set of people to the basics of public policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. And it will do so in a way that allows this country to build a new cadre of political mangers who through the experience and knowledge gathered will no doubt contribute in immeasurable ways to the development of community and country,” he contended.

Sinckler further noted that the councils would be essential in rekindling the spirit of volunteerism in Barbados, and addressing the needs of those who are most in need and provide a more equitable distribution of public resources.

By Nicholas Cox

Taken from: http://barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=4726

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