Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler????

"To achieve the goal of transforming the social landscape of Barbados, concepts need to be changed and reflected in legislation."

This view was expressed by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler as he delivered the feature address at the Awards Ceremony for the Welfare Department, held last Saturday night, at Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Sinckler stated that there were "unacceptable levels of generational poverty" existing within our society. He noted, however, that "this situation was not the fault of the Welfare Officers or the functioning of the Welfare Department, per se, but rather, the existence of an archaic system regulated by an Act dating back to 1969."

He disclosed "as part of the Ministry’s legislative schedule, the National Assistance Act would either be amended or repealed completely and [that] more appropriate legislation [would] take its place."

The Social Care Minister also cited the need for institutional changes within the Welfare Department, and confirmed that there have been consultations to make the necessary modifications in the structure of the Welfare Department.

He declared: "…plans are well on the way to put the necessary architecture in place to create the technological linkages that will be needed to assist the modernisation of client service delivery."

Minister Sinckler also announced that the Ministry was currently finalising plans for the implementation of the Identification, Stabilisation, Enablement and Empowerment (ISEE) Bridge Project which "is intended to break the cycle of poverty among those families where poverty appears to be inter-generational." This project aims to attend to the entire household, rather than only treating the individual who is presented to the Welfare Department.

Additionally, the Minister revealed that the Welfare to Work programme will be revamped and renamed, and the new programme will be launched this September.

"This year 2010, let us strive to [achieve excellence] by constantly setting higher and higher standards for ourselves and by doing everything possible to live up to these standards," Mr. Sinckler urged. sharifa.medford@barbados.gov.bb

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