Parish Independence Committees (PICs) have been encouraged to start their parish projects for this year early.

While addressing an orientation session recently for PICs, Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Shirley Farnum, told them they must get together to conceptualise the projects and develop a strategy for implementation which would involve a wide cross section of people from the community.

Ms. Farnum said: "Unfortunately, too often these projects are undertaken with the involvement of a relatively small number of persons in the parish."

She also urged the committees to show appreciation to the elders in their communities who greatly contributed to the development of Barbados. "And, encourage them to share their knowledge and experiences with our young people. Life is the greatest teacher and though many of these older men and women might not have had the benefit of higher education, their life experiences often make them far more knowledgeable about life than those who have benefited [from higher education]," the Permanent Secretary stated.

She expressed the view that the Community Independence Celebrations Programme had the potential to make a fundamental contribution to the island’s survival in these economic times. According to her, the programme was well placed to encourage all Barbadians to be independent of thought, to strive to be self-sufficient, and accept responsibility for their own lives and not rely on others.

Ms. Farnum commended the committees for taking on the challenge to serve their communities, saying she regularly heard comments indicating that the spirit of volunteerism had died. "The fact you are all here this evening is testimony … that there are still some Barbadians who are ready to serve, and to do so selflessly, without remuneration," she underscored.

She stressed that the entire Community Independence Celebrations Programme was based on volunteerism and suggested that the committees were strengthening their communities and the country by giving of their time and talent.

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