POVERTY IN URBAN BARBADOS TO BE TACKLED

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Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler (right), points out a home in need of repair to UDC Chairman, Gordon Bispham (centre) and Director of the UDC, Sarston Lavine, during a tour of the St. Michael South Central constituency.

All urban constituencies in Barbados will be visited by personnel from the Urban Development Commission (UDC) with the aim of assisting residents who are living under deplorable conditions.

That is the word from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, who was speaking during a tour of some areas of St. Michael South Central. He was accompanied by officials of the UDC and Member of Parliament for the area, Richard Sealy.

Noting that there were matters which the UDC had to attend to with some urgency, he said: “We will be doing this for all the urban constituencies, both represented by Government and members of the Opposition. We have invited MPs, and will continue to do so, to highlight their most pressing cases, as Mr. Sealy has done in this instance, and we have established a Rapid Response Unit at the UDC, as we will do at the Rural Development Commission later this month.”

According to Mr. Sinckler, the Rapid Response Unit is expected to respond earnestly to these cases, however, he pointed out that the resources of the Commission were limited and only extreme cases would be addressed with some level of urgency.   

Minister Sinckler revealed that these cases would be tackled using an integrated approach. “For example, the first person we visited … she not only needs an intervention at the level of housing but at the level of disabilities, because she is partially blind. Therefore, I am going to be instructing the National Disabilities Unit, the other social agencies, such as the Welfare Department, to ensure that they profile her case, if they have not yet done so…So, we are going to have an integrated approach to the way in which we deal with cases of poverty over the next year(s) and our hope is that we can make some significant dent in what we see here today,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Minister Sinckler disclosed that the Ministry of Social Care would be conducting a full assessment of the living conditions of Barbadians, with a survey called CALC (Country Assessment of Living Conditions), from April 2009 to April 2010. He stated that the survey would be accompanied by some new technological approaches to the way data was handled. 

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