Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, and Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard, in discussion following the launch of the rebranded Barbados Fire Service’s Cadet Programme at the Arch Hall Fire Station today. (J.Rawlins-Bentham/BGIS)

Cabinet has approved the Give Back Programme for students of the University of the West Indies whose tuition fees are funded by the tax payers.

This was announced by Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, as he delivered the feature address during the launch of the rebranded Barbados Fire Service’s Cadet Programme at the Arch Hall Fire Station, today.

Under the programme, university students will be required to complete 150 hours of community service over the three to four years that they are at university, and give back to Barbados.

Mr. Hinkson said government believed that it was important for university students to give back to their society through volunteerism in this country. 

He added that there was already a list of organizations, entities and non-governmental organizations that were waiting to come on board. 

He also noted that the national summer camps, which got underway today, also provided an avenue for university students to volunteer.

“This is what being a Barbadian is about.  Being a Barbadian is not only about what you can get out of your country…, but also about what you can do for your country.  We have to encourage and inculcate in you and your people and your contemporaries the concept and notion that you have to volunteer in communities, to the elderly, to people with disabilities; to the DEOs (District Emergency Organizations), which are a part of the Department of Emergency Management, which also needs volunteers during this season,” the minister said.

He also pointed out that young people were needed to volunteer to clean up the communities in the event of a disaster, and to ensure the people in the communities were safe.

“These are the kinds of actions of citizenry that we require of our young people, especially in this country going forward.  The government cannot do it alone.  We need the support of everyone, especially young people to volunteer,” Mr. Hinkson urged.

He noted that initiatives such as the Junior Cadet Programme gave young people the tools and equipment to be able to volunteer in society, and to develop the kind of citizens that Barbados required.

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