Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Patrick Todd

Barbadians need to urgently pay attention to the building of stronger family units in the community.

This is the view of Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Patrick Todd, who said that too many families were becoming disintegrated because of the prevalence of drugs, alcohol and child abuse, family violence and the emphasis on material things, rather than spiritual values.

He made the comments over the weekend while addressing the annual presentation of World Harvest in Speightstown. He spoke under the theme “Creating a sustainable policy-making system to foster National Development”.

Mr. Todd stressed that in the pursuit of creating a sustainable policy system and to foster national development, “the creation of stronger family structures should come first since this lays the foundation for strong nation building”. He pointed out that over the years the society had experienced cultural penetration from external influences, resulting in the adoption of alien lifestyles which militate against traditional family life.

“We need to get back to the basics. We need to retain the values and standards which were the envy of our Caribbean counterparts. Some of the descriptions we would want to be associated with the Barbadian personality are productive, being thrifty, respectful, law-abiding, reliable, fair, supportive and environmentally conscious,” the Minister told the gathering.

He promised that the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports would assist the process by providing support in raising children, ensuring adequate resources were available to provide counselling to families and guidance to parents. He added that young people would be provided with the necessary education so that roles within marriages and other relationships could be better understood and counselling and rehabilitation given to delinquent parents.

Mr. Todd opined that the church had a pivotal role to play in the society in helping to develop, build and create better individuals, stronger family units and by extension more stable families.

He also identified the relationship between an individual and his or her environment as vitally important to the sustainability of national development and progress. He reminded all that it was important to protect the environment against the degradation and destruction caused by human beings.

“It is therefore very important that we put measures in place to help protect our environment against further destruction. A clean and safe environment enables us to lead healthy and more productive lives and consequently will contribute in a very meaningful way to the fostering of greater national development,” he said.

The Minister urged all to make greater efforts at enhancing the environment by developing production techniques that were less polluting and more efficient and also use more environmentally-friendly technologies to curb the increase in carbon monoxide and other harmful gases.

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