Minister of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment, Christopher Sinckler, presents Council Member for Christ Church South and Special Envoy for Persons with Disabilities, Roslyn Hurley, with her official instruments. Also pictured are (second from left) Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ruth Blackman and at right is Council Member for Christ Church South, Buddy Larrier.

The establishment of the first six Constituency Councils begins Government’s attempt at "state-sponsored, community management mechanisms", which should add value to the structure, tone and quality of participatory governance in Barbados.

That is the view of Minister of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment, Christopher Sinckler, who said: "More than anything else we believe that through this process of citizen engagement and involvement, we have a seminal opportunity to breathe new life into the post-independence democracy project in Barbados."

He was speaking last evening at the launch of the Councils at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that it had been a long journey to arrive at this point, he said the Councils should serve to bring about popular participation, build an ethos of future political managers, and rekindle the spirit of volunteerism.

He particularly stressed that through these mechanisms an opportunity is presented to begin a genuine process in which communities could feel and see a more equitable distribution of public resources to attend their needs.

The Minister stated: "For way too long…has the accusation been made that things other than fairness and fair mindedness have governed how national resources are allocated and spent at the constituency level. The evidence of these accusations is indisputable, even if the genesis of them is contestable. Our belief is that through these Councils we can begin to address this matter with a level of practicality and seriousness that seems to have eluded successive governments, even in spite of the loudest protestations from people and parliamentarians alike."

Minister Sinckler also congratulated the 78 Councillors and reminded them?? that theirs was a critical task, which called on them "to breathe life into what up to this point has been an academic, legislative and organisational exercise, tinged as all such processes of this nature are, with a good dose of political fare".??

He remarked: "It is you, the Councillors, together with officials of the Ministry’s Constituency Empowerment Department, and certainly the people of Barbados, who will determine the success of these Constituency Councils," he remarked.

Mr. Sinckler revealed that an Operation Manual that includes establishing financial arrangements and a fully-articulated set of regulations to govern the nomination and selection process by the Advisory Committee of members to sit on the Councils, had been prepared for them.?? He also told them that orientation and training sessions would be provided to assist them "in this new partnership".

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