Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, addressing the OECS’ Media Breakfast Meeting at UN House on Friday.????

The stigmatisation of the poor is keeping policymakers and those who implement policies from doing their utmost to help the poor among us.

That is the view of Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler.?? He was speaking today at the United Nations (UN) System for Barbados and the OECS’ Media Breakfast Meeting at UN House, on the observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Minister Sinckler said: "There is an acceptable level of stigmatisation of the poor that is causing us policy makers and policy implementers at various levels not to appreciate the urgency with which this issue needs to be tackled.?? We have come to almost accept that poor people will always be with us, and that if we give them some remedial treatment here and there to alleviate the worst and most distressing forms of their own plight, it is enough to satisfy our own innate desires to be helpful.

"I believe that this is part of the greatest problem that we have in terms of moving forward, and it is something that touches all sectors, not only the political policy makers, but those who work in the field and see this thing on a daily basis.??

The Minister added: "We have to get over those barriers as policy makers.?? As persons who are interested in lifting the society, we have to see poverty in a holistic manner…"

He explained what alleviating poverty really entailed.?? ??"Poverty alleviation is not a programme; an isolated project that you adopt with all of the international jargon attached to it.?? Poverty is a holistic intervention within society to alter the way in which the society is structured, so that we can lift people up to higher levels of existence; through education, better health care, better social welfare, through even leisure activities for persons to participate in, so that they can have a holistic view of the society."

Mr. Sinckler also touched on the issue of poverty coming in many dimensions, especially poverty in thought, and remarked: "There is poverty of thought if your thoughts are not wholesome; if your thoughts are short of what we accept within our society as morally just, then you yourself will act out and put others in a position where there will be a degradation of society as we know it, and we are seeing it all over."

The Minister revealed that in dealing with the issue of poverty, the Ministry had been trying to operate more efficiently, and was working to create a new culture to look at the way staff interacted with "those who were marginalised and less fortunate than themselves".??

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed worldwide every October 17.

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