Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley. (FP)??

Discussions will continue on the future of the Community Independence Celebrations Programme and how it is currently constructed, once this year’s celebrations have concluded.

This promise came from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the official launch of the 2012 Goddard Enterprises Community

Independence Celebrations last Saturday at the Jackie Opel Amphitheatre, Cheapside, the City.

Mr. Lashley disclosed that during the past year he had met with the Parish Independence Committees. "It is important that, together, we explore ways in which we can enhance the Programme, helping it to grow so that it can better satisfy the needs of our communities," he suggested.

He noted that major adjustments had not been made to the programme this year, but added that some new initiatives had been included. "We have, for example, been able to expand the Lighting Programme. Our intention is eventually to encourage as many communities as possible to take part in the lighting up of Barbados at Independence time," he stated.

The Minister disclosed that lights would be switched on at the Speightstown Esplanade and the soon to be completed play park at Gall Hill, Christ Church, at the same time as the ones in Bridgetown.

He continued: "I am well aware that this activity comes at a cost, and so I want to encourage the private sector and the general public to partner with us in this regard. While we may not in all cases manage to secure large sums of sponsorship, it would be an extremely generous gesture if individuals in our communities could come together, with the guidance of the Secretariat and the PICs, and pool resources to light up more communities.

"This must be seen as a communal effort, aimed at livening up your community. So, even though you may not necessarily be in a position to contribute a large sum, even modest contributions towards the purchase of lights, or help in whatever way possible, could assist us in achieving our goal."

Mr. Lashley expressed the hope that more communities would come on board and light up their areas next year.??????

The Minister encouraged Barbadians of all ages to support the work of the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat, stating that the impact of its programme on communities was far greater than some might think.

According to him, with the loss of the traditional extended family which ensured stability in years past, there was a need to provide appropriate supporting structures to promote the process of strengthening communities, making them more cohesive and healthier.

He told the large gathering that departments in his Ministry would pool their human and financial resources together and execute at least one major project aimed at strengthening communities and empowering young people.

Mr. Lashley praised the parish ambassadors and their attendants for serving their communities and country.


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