From right: Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart enjoy a presentation at the launch of the I.S.E.E. Bridge Pilot Project.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is calling for a more humane approach to be exhibited by those agencies charged with offering assistance to the impoverished segments of the society.

He made this appeal recently while addressing the launch of the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development’s I.S.E.E. Bridge Pilot Project.?? It was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Emphasising that a paradigm shift was required on the part of clients and those offering the services, Mr. Stuart added that the universal stigma attached to poverty as espoused in the World Bank Study on perceptions of poverty in 1998 in which a poor Latvian described poverty as humiliation and a sense of being dependent on others and being forced to accept rudeness when seeking help from individuals, must be stamped out.

"The kind of perception is universal and must be understood by all sides if progress is to be made," he asserted.

Noting that poverty had bedeviled many generations all over the world, the Prime Minister reminded the audience that even though we still had time on our side, the time for action was now.

"Cooperation is essential from all Government Ministries and agencies offering social safety net services in the key dimensions or pillars identified in the programme, such as the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Ministry of Housing and Lands and the Ministry of Labour.

"The eventual breaking down of the existing silos in the delivery of social services will be crucial.?? This will, hopefully, reduce duplication and improve efficiency in each service," Mr. Stuart observed.

The Prime Minister said the pilot project, which took almost three years of planning, will enhance but not replace existing programmes, as regular clients of the Welfare Department, who are not in the I.S.E.E. project, will benefit from an overall improvement in service delivery through government’s ambitious reform programme.

"We can no longer continue with a superficial way of dealing with poverty in Barbados.?? We cannot hide it away or pretend that it is not there, we must face it, analyse it and confront it to the best of our ability.?? This I.S.E.E Bridge Pilot Project, if properly understood, carefully handled and lovingly executed can herald a new day: one in which we truly become our brother’s keeper, in the small island community that is Barbados," Mr. Stuart surmised.


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