Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett (FP)??

Participants in the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat’s (CICS) programme have been told that independence should not merely be considered as a word, but should become an important part of the Barbadian psyche.

This point was made by Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, who said ambassadors, attendants and parish independence committees (PICs) had a vital role to play in ensuring Barbadian communities embraced and reflected this important milestone.

He was addressing an orientation session of the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat at Harrisons College, Crumpton Street, last weekend.

"Its importance must be etched in our psyche and reflected in our sense of patriotism, pride and industry. It must also be embraced and celebrated by communities through cultural, sporting and intellectual programmes, which are created, developed and showcased by a wide cross section of persons in the respective parishes," the Culture Minister remarked.

Mr. Blackett also called on the Secretariat, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, to continue to foster and develop community participation, and not lose sight of the vision of community participation.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Shirley Farnum, also urged the audience not to forget the importance of the community spirit, reminding them of a bygone era when the family and the village were the centre of Barbadian life.

She observed that with the development of the Barbados society, over the years, the community spirit and care for others had been lost.

Ms. Farnum called on the volunteers to continue to work closely for the benefit of their respective communities, and by extension, their country.

"You understand and have been living the concept of community…I believe very firmly that we need to band together [to] create partnerships, community spirit and friendships, but we also need to work together for the good of us all," the Permanent Secretary stressed.

This year’s programme will commence with the official launch of the Community Independence Celebrations on Saturday, August 28, followed by the Parish Talent Zonal Shows in September.

The Lighting Ceremony and the Bajan Brew will usher in the November activities, which will culminate with the Spirit of the Nation Show.

The Mini-Parks and Gardens Competition will be launched on Friday, April 23, and will include an open day for members of the public.

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