Critical issues relevant to Barbados’ development will be examined shortly when Government hosts a two-day National Consultation on Society.

It will be held on Friday, August 31 and Saturday, September 1, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, under the theme, The Changing Barbadian Society: Shaping a Brighter Tomorrow. Close to 200 persons drawn from government departments, civil society organisations and the church are expected to participate in the discussions.

Presenters will be: Sociologist, Richard Carter, who will address the Changing Norms and Values, Principal of Codrington College, Dr. Ian Rock, who will speak on Society and Religion, and former Coroner, Faith Marshall-Harris who will examine The Law and Society.

In addition, acting Deputy Director of the Bureau of Social Policy and Research, Lee Rose, will speak on the topic Responding to the Needs of Vulnerable Groups, while Reverend Eliseus Joseph of the Apostolic Teaching Centre will discuss Socio-Economic Empowerment and the Citizen. ??Director of the Natural Heritage Department, Steve Devonish, will also make a presentation on Environmental Sustainability. The outcomes of the recently held Religious Summit will also be fed into the conference.

Giving the rationale for the important meeting, Minister of Family, Culture,

Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, said the national consultation was at the root of Government’s philosophy that Barbados was more than an economy, it was a society as well. He added that it underscored Government’s view that all persons have a role to play in shaping the development of Barbados.

Minister Lashley further disclosed that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had given high priority to the national consultation and the outcome would be central to the development of Government’s policy on various key societal matters.

He stated: "The objectives of the consultation are not only to highlight the societal issues that impact on the country’s development, but make sound recommendations and devise effective implementation strategies and evaluation processes on the way forward.

"In addition, the consultation is expected to, among other things, lay the foundation for broad-based participation in the design and implementation of development interventions."

Minister Lashley said that, as far as he was aware, this would be the first national consultation of its kind and he called for wide-scaled particpation from the various sectors and groups invited.????

The meeting, which will be addressed by the Prime Minister, and attended by members of the Cabinet and Parliament, is being hosted by the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development.


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