Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley (FP)

Since the Ministry of Family’s formation five years ago, it has developed "creative programmes" that have positively impacted the lives of families in our community.

That view was expressed yesterday, on Errol Barrow Day, by Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed those participating in the annual Family Fun Day of the Barbados Workers’ Union at Mangrove, St. Philip.

Mr. Lashley said the Ministry was created with the primary responsibility of promoting "high quality" family life in Barbados and that the practical policies were crafted in keeping with Government’s family-friendly reform agenda.

He told his audience: "Families are immeasurably important… Family is the building block of a strong, cohesive nation. The seed of many of our social problems is sown and success stories started in those early years. It is during the early childhood phase that people learn to be good citizens, to take responsibility [for their actions] and to live in harmony with others.

"Indeed, this is why we in Government have placed so much emphasis on the family in our efforts to tackle our social challenges."

He surmised that discussions on matters concerning the family and youth had often been met by disapproval or defeatism reactions. "Disapproval from the point that there is the belief that Government should concentrate on more important matters of state, since in public policy terms, family matters are seen as ephemeral. Some have adopted the defeatist attitude by believing that there is little that Government can practicably do to help families. I think both views are wrong," he declared.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that Government had prioritised support for parents and families, particularly those who were facing difficulty. He stressed that it was important to equip parents with the personal resources and skills needed to foster positive family environments in which children could thrive.

He promised that his Ministry would continue to offer the Parent Support and Education Programme and the Positive Parenting Community Outreach Programme to the public. He explained that through these training programmes, persons were obtaining the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to empower them to become more effective parents.

He continued: "I believe that this [Parent Support and Education] programme is resulting in positive improvements in family life, better communication and improved inter-personal relationships, not only within the home, but throughout the communities, schools and workplaces."

Mr. Lashley disclosed that to date, 158 persons had been trained and were deemed suitable to conduct training programmes within their communities.


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