Prime Minister, David Thompson, unveils the plaque to officially open the Nightengale Reception Centre yesterday.????

Any investment made in ensuring that our children enjoy their childhood is well made, but, unfortunately, a lot is being done to rob them of those formative years.

This view was expressed by Prime Minister David Thompson yesterday, as he delivered an address at the official opening of the Nightengale Reception Centre, Black Rock. It was funded by the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust.

Mr. Thompson noted that when children were left at home, their first recourse, if it was available, was the television and then the computer. The danger in this, he explained, was that there was no control over what they were accessing.

"Whatever we can do both at the level of government and at the level of the individual, to ensure that our children enjoy their childhood and that they are not ripped away from those basic points of enjoyment and development in their life that they should experience, is to my mind, one of the most important, if not the most important contribution that we can make to our development as a country," he added.

The Prime Minister pointed to the summer camps as one of the efforts by government in this regard, and stressed that they were not developed to stop parents and children from bonding.

He explained: "We know that parents really don’t have enough time in this era and in this environment to bond in the way that they should, and we can’t substitute for that, but we can provide some intermediary, which is our summer camps programme, which provides an opportunity for us to get them to continue to work with others; but more than that, it gives teenagers an opportunity to work with younger children and again, they develop their leadership skills and some sense of social responsibility."

Mr. Thompson commended the Trust for the speed with which it had executed the venture and expressed the hope that it would collaborate with government on "even bigger projects". He mentioned the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Constituency Councils as two possibilities for such a partnership.?? ????

"By what you are doing, you have demonstrated the essence of our view that by living in Barbados you have come to enjoy the lifestyle, the cultural, social and other experiences of this country, and the only way we can build on that and perpetuate it, is if some contribution is made by all of us to the development of our society," the Prime Minister remarked.

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