The Ministry of Culture will have extensive consultations early next year with all stakeholders involved in the Community Independence Celebrations Programme.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who said the meetings would be held with a view to ensuring that the current systems and structures for the delivery of the programme were carefully reviewed and adjusted to meet the growing demands of the communities.

While delivering the feature address at the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat Awards Ceremony last Saturday, Mr. Lashley promised to engage the collective wisdom of all persons in reshaping and redesigning the important programme.

"I do believe that we have a programme that must be enhanced to further embrace the creative talent and ability of our youth, while exposing them to the wisdom and experience of those that have gone before them.

"… I wish to assure you that the end results of this review will be that our community independence celebrations will be executed in a creative manner and at a very high standard," he assured.

The Minister expressed confidence that all involved could continue to build the systems and make the changes necessary to improve the programme. "All Barbadians, private sector organisations, Parish Independence Committees, attendants, Parish Ambassadors and civil society at large, need to be committed to the journey ahead. We need to establish positive and lasting footprints," he stressed.

Mr. Lashley described the 15-year-old programme as a "pace-setter" in researching and celebrating the country’s heritage and independence and suggested that it was well positioned to complement Government’s efforts to address the self development needs of communities.

He urged those involved to make it a successful model for others to emulate. "I now call for your commitment to early planning for next year’s celebrations. I would like to see more participation of persons in the community in the election of the parish independence committees. It is at this level that we need to ensure greater commitment to leadership, innovation and nationhood," the Culture Minister noted.

?? Those receiving awards included the Parish Independence Committees, Parish Ambassadors and Attendants for 2009 and 2010, the Most Outstanding Parish Ambassadors and Attendants for those years, sponsors and the Barbados Government Printery.??

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