Independence celebrations on their minds:??Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, being??welcomed to the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat by its Coordinator, Curtis Gibbons, while Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture, Shirley Farnum, looks on.????

Government’s Community Independence Celebrations Programme will soon come under the microscope when officials of the Ministry of Culture meet with stakeholders to review it and chart a way forward.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who said a consultation would be held later this month. He made the comments today after touring the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat (CICS) on Bay Street, St. Michael, and meeting with the staff.

Mr. Lashley stated: "The consultation is aimed at revamping the programme, which has been around for a while, but has not benefited from the kind of input from the various community interest groups. My intention, therefore, is to open up the programme to that kind of participation and scrutiny, so we could move into this year’s Independence celebrations with a programme that has gotten input from the various interest groups and reflects a lot of what is happening in the Barbadian communities."

The Minister underscored that there was a role in the society for the CICS, but stressed that it had to come out of the contribution from the wider community. This way, he explained, the objectives set would not be at variance with the reasonable expectations of the beneficiaries.????????

"That has been lacking and coming out of previous discussions with some of the stakeholders, they yearn for that. They have been involved in the Independence celebrations for a while, and they have acquired knowledge which they want to share… It is a people’s programme, those persons have been involved in it for a long time and we want them to reflect on their experiences and help us to plot a path of change… The structure of the programme has to be based on what we want to do with it in terms of returning independence to the community," he maintained.

In terms of the Secretariat’s location, Mr. Lashley said he was "a bit uncomfortable" with it being far from the main sections of his Ministry, and expressed a desire for it to be relocated in the near future.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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