Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde (standing, left); Acting Minister of Broadcasting and Public Affairs, Dwight Sutherland (standing, centre) and Parliamentary Secretary, Neil Rowe (standing, right) pose for an official photograph with the centenarians who attended the launch of the website today. (R. Brooks/BGIS)

Government is committed to keeping its citizens informed of its activities says acting Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs, Dwight Sutherland.

He made the comments as he delivered an address today at the launch of the website Centenarians of Barbados – The Foundation Builders, at the Accra Beach Hotel, Rockley, Christ Church.

Mr. Sutherland said Government was also committed to leading the society to greater levels of national consciousness, exposing the uniqueness of Barbados’ culture and providing information that could lead to entrepreneurial activities and economic growth.

“The GIS and the CBC have been playing their due roles in this respect and can and will do much more in the future.  They have between them very important stocks of audio-visual material which each institution is working on to convert to a digitized format.  When that exercise is completed, the public can expect even more research and educational projects.

“The content of these archives will be made available either gratis or for a fee, depending on the purpose of use and the form in which it will be shared.  I am looking forward eventually to the establishment of an Information and Archival Data Unit where the audio-visual materials of these two entities will be kept and pooled to offer a wider range of information services to the general public and specialized researchers,” he stated.

The Minister said a major plan for the BGIS is to acquire the relevant technology that would allow it to reach far greater audiences in a more cost-efficient manner.

Centenarians Gileon Carrington and Clyde Foster at the launch of the website Centenarians of Barbados – The Foundation Builders at the Accra Beach Resort today. (R. Brooks/BGIS)

Minister Sutherland noted that the distinguished Barbadian, Dr. Alan Emtage, who is the first person from the Caribbean to be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame and was recently conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of the West Indies, conceived the world’s first internet search engine.

He stated that he was hopeful that the knowledge of this record by a Barbadian and the wealth of information on the website would serve as spurs to many young Barbadians to do research.

“I would like to see developments like this website and Dr. Emtage’s achievements serve as inspiration to Barbadians to be constructively curious, to be innovative, to explore how they can advance information technology, or how they can use it in entrepreneurial undertakings,” he added.

The Minister lauded the centenarians, describing them as nation builders. “You, indeed, have played the most important part in bringing Barbados to the stage at which we can say we were once punching above our weight.  We will return again to those glory days where we can punch above our weight,” he declared.

This website project was co-developed by the Barbados Government Information Service, the defunct National Committee on Ageing and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. 

The Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs will provide the financial assistance to maintain and update the website, which is centenariansofbarbados.com.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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