Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart has emphasised the importance of volunteerism to nation building and its contribution to the development of community-based empowerment programmes.
Mr. Stuart expressed this view last Saturday, as he delivered the feature address at the St. Michael South Constituency Council’s Community Awards Ceremony, at Almond Bay Caterers.
Speaking on the role of constituency council programmes in reducing poverty, building value and creating opportunities for advancement, the Prime Minister stressed that volunteerism played a leading role in the realisation of such programmes.
“Volunteerism has been repeatedly underscored in relation to nation building. We must remain mindful that the positive, productive output of each and every citizen is of extreme value to society…
“In our history, volunteers in every parish and in every community have been pillars of our social development… [and] are usually made up of those of our citizens who have an acute awareness of community needs and are in search of solutions,” he stated.
Mr. Stuart, who is also the parliamentary representative for St. Michael South, noted that the contributions of such persons must be “extolled”, and urged other community members to get involved in the service of volunteerism.
“Volunteers create a tremendous impact on the health and wellbeing of communities world-wide and of course, Barbados is no exception. I encourage the older community members to mentor young community members, and younger community members to seek to assist older community members as well,” he advised.
Praising the “excellent and exceptional” contribution of the evening’s awardees, the Prime Minister also commended the Council for honouring those who have done credit to Barbados. This, he said, was necessary since many individuals involved in great endeavours often fell below the radar of recognition.
Awardees were recognised for exemplary service in the categories of Academics, Education, Business, Culture and Arts, Medicine, Law, Tourism and Hospitality, Sports, Community Service and Unsung Heroes.
Barbados’ lone surviving National Hero and community member, The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, received a Special Award for his stellar contribution to the game of cricket, while the Constituency’s newest centenarian, Francis Medford Clarke, received the Chairman’s Award for an unprecedented 100 years ‘not out’.