The Barbados Red Cross Society’s new headquarters building fund appeal was launched recently with an injection of BDS$1 million by the government.
The headquarters will be constructed at a cost of $2.5 million on 7,000 square feet of land leased by government. It will be located next to the Warrens Polyclinic.
In making the presentation to the Red Cross, Prime Minister David Thompson noted that the laws related to charities in Barbados were unsatisfactory and needed to be updated. He said that he had come to this conclusion, after doing a study sometime ago on charitable giving and on the structure of the management of charities in the Caribbean.
“I also felt that the method of supporting charitable giving and the manner in which income tax concessions are granted for that charitable giving, was in many cases not supportive of people who want to make small donations, (which) when added together in support of one or two major charities in Barbados could make a lot of difference,” he stated.
Mr. Thompson suggested that there must be a mechanism to assist people in getting benefits from large one-off contributions to major charitable projects. He said Cabinet would therefore be examining the laws to ensure that there was better management and oversight of the operations of charities and also, to simplify the process for persons to benefit from making contributions.
The Prime Minister also recommended that the Red Cross should seek to link its national programme with communities through the constituency councils. He opined that the chairman of each district emergency organisation or a representative should sit on each constituency council to assist in directing resources to the work of disaster preparedness in every community.
“And the resources that government makes available to those entities can be targeted towards having organisations such as the Red Cross run community programmes, particularly in the area of disaster preparedness.
“So you need to prepare yourself for that kind of development, where your work in communities can be strengthened by having access to the funds that may be made available to constituency councils in Barbados to build up community life,” Mr. Thompson advised.