Chairman of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society, Kemar Saffrey, receives the cheque on behalf of his organisation from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care, Bruce Alleyne. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Empowering vulnerable persons in society is not the sole responsibility of Government.

This is the view of Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, who called for more input from all Barbadians towards the fight to eradicate poverty.

Mr. Blackett made these comments yesterday at his Ministry’s office in Warrens, before presenting cheques to six non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who have implemented initiatives designed to alleviate poverty in Barbados. They are: Queen’s Charity; Pinelands Creative Workshop; Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society; Danse Nationale Afrique; Love and Faith Ministries Incorporated; and Supreme Counselling for Personal Development.

He pointed out that the funds, which were allocated through the Poverty Reduction Programme of the Ministry, would provide "the avenue through which the reach of the Ministry and by extension, Government, can be expanded, thus expediting the process that leads to the empowerment of the most vulnerable among us."

The Social Care Minister noted that partnerships between Government and NGOs lightened the task and allowed more Barbadians to receive the necessary "hands-up". He acknowledged that such interventions may be limited due to financial constraints, but stated that through the Poverty Fund the organisations’ financial capacity would significantly improve.

Minister Blackett, however, cautioned the representatives of the organisations to utilise the funds responsibly, and urged them to be up-to-date with their reports.

Noting that partnerships with the NGO community were not unique to Barbados, the Minister pointed out that "more and more development Institutions are partnering directly with non-state actors in the fight against poverty in countries around the world with much success.??Governments too, especially those in developing nations, have been following suit with the same outcomes…Processes are expedited in that there is less bureaucracy to overcome when compared to interventions of empowerment undertaken by Government agencies."


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