Government Wants More Collaboration With Social Partners

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Prime Minister David Thompson turns the sod to start construction of the Barbados Red Cross’ new $2.1 million headquarters in Warrens.??

Government cannot develop this country on its own, it needs help from the social partners.

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This assertion was made today by Prime Minister David Thompson, while delivering remarks at a ceremony for the construction of the Barbados Red Cross??? new $2.1 million headquarters, at Warrens, St. Michael.

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He said the construction of the buildings ???marked a new beginning??? for the Red Cross, which lost its base and its belongings in a 1999 fire.

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Mr. Thompson called on the private sector to assist the agency in completing the building. ???Since it needed another million to complete the work and further funds to equip, and operate the facility.

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???I want therefore to make a special appeal to the business community for support for this exemplary organisation. Remember, that all of us are at risk from natural disasters, and a dollar given to the Red Cross is a dollar given to negating the impact of disasters,??? declared Prime Minister Thompson.

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He commended the Barbados Red Cross Society for being ???a fine example??? of what civil society organisations could do in the face of threats to our nation???s well-being, and our very existence.

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Mr. Thompson called on all stakeholders involved in Barbados??? development to ???work together for the common good???, urging the private sector, as well as civil society organisations?? ???to play their part???.

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???Our strengthened institutional framework for collaboration, known as social partnership, is where all the partners have to step up to the plate, act responsibly, share the burden, especially in times?? of economic austerity,??? he said.

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Mr. Thompson also pointed out that because of the Red Cross??? close working relationship with the Department of Emergency Management in preparing for the 2009 hurricane season, Government was willing to give it maximum support.

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???We are currently helping the Barbados Red Cross to prepare its national development plan, to strengthen its regional networks and to help empower communities,??? he disclosed, adding that this could be further achieved through the offices of the soon to be launched Constituency Councils.

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The Prime Minister also said that a new regime for charities would be announced in a matter of days. He said this new entity would provide the opportunity for ???one-off large donations by corporate sponsors to be deducted for tax purposes???, as well as the revamping of laws relating to the administration of charities, and the establishment of national philanthropic foundations.

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He also called on Barbadians to help the Red Cross in its work by becoming volunteers.????

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The agency operates from the grounds of the old hospital at Jemmotts Lane and has a skeleton staff of four full-time officers and four part-time workers.??It delivers programmes such as Meals on Wheels and Christmas Cheer, and provides hampers for the nedy and shelter and comfort for fire victims. Its new facility is expected to be completed in 40 weeks.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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