Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, presenting??instruments of appointment to Monsignor Vincent Harcourt Blackett during the ceremony last Saturday. (Image: C. Pitt/BGIS)

Constituency Councils will be of great benefit to the nation.

This was underscored by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, last Saturday evening, as he addressed the launch of the second phase of the Constituency Councils.

Speaking at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre, he congratulated the members of the 12 Councils on their appointment and assured them that it was a "bold step in the face of a very challenging experience for this country."

The Minister dubbed the councillors "change agents" and advised them that one of their responsibilities in the community was to make a difference.

He asserted: "When the Government in the 1950s and 1960s spoke about free education, we were told that it was not a good idea…when we spoke about establishing a Community College, it was said it would destroy sixth form schools in Barbados, but we have reached the stage where we need two or three community colleges… When we started the Credit Union Movement, it was said that it would not succeed. So they will say Constituency Councils will not work, your job is to prove them wrong."

The Minister emphasised the importance of the Constituency Councils, in spite of recent cries from persons who were opposed to the idea. He indicated the programme would re-install "the strong, vibrant community life" that was once a feature of our society, but had declined in recent years.

Minister Sinckler stated: "We have become a society, not bonded by networks of families and communities, but…a society of individuals; each person in pursuit of their own personal success and gratification. Therefore, any attempt by a responsible Government to institute mechanisms…to draw back the society in a way that creates

those bonds…are absolutely critical for the quality of life that we want to have in Barbados".

He further disclosed: "The Constituency Councils programme has been designed from the concept of communalism…and [a concept] that puts the vision of the society back in the heart of every family and every community".

Minister Sinckler told the members that their job was not going to be easy, and that they will be approached to solve every possible issue. However, he urged them to undertake those matters of higher priority.

"Set realistic goals. The reality is that resources are not there for you to do everything. Select two or three very important community initiatives that can gain you credibility in the community. That is how you will demonstrate the importance of what you are doing," he maintained.

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