Friday, April 19, 2024

Government will facilitate philanthropists


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GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED to providing the right environment so as to ensure that charities and philanthropists who want to give to Barbados can be easily facilitated.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave this assurance today, while delivering the feature address at the official opening of the US$10 million Derrick Smith School and Vocational Centre at Lears, St Michael.

Stuart said that Government did not want to create an environment where relationships between the benefactors became invidious because some were treated better than others.

As a result, he continued: “The Ministry of Finance and its officials sat down to work out a formula on the basis of which preferences and prejudices can be pushed aside, certainly kept in the background, and a set of principles developed that would cover all of those philanthropists…who want to make a contribution to Barbados. And, those rules are going to apply…”

He, therefore, urged those benefactors to join forces with Government to work on various projects which would benefit this country.

The Prime Minister said that philanthropy had been identified in 2008 as a critical area for Government. “We recognised that not everything that we wanted to do for Barbados, that we would be able to do because no Government is able to do all the things that it really wants to do. We recognise too that there are large numbers of people in Barbados who want to give to Barbados because of what Barbados gives to them….

“If they want to give back to Barbados, what obligation then devolves on the shoulders of the Government? The Government’s role in this connection has to be to make it as easy as possible for these people to do for Barbados what they really want to do…,” he explained.

He noted that the Ministry of Finance, under the leadership of the late Prime Minister David Thompson and then the current Minister, Christopher Sinckler, therefore took a decision to put a menu of mechanisms in place to ensure that people who wanted to give to Barbados could be facilitated.

Stuart disclosed that a cost benefit analysis would show that even though Government would have to forego some revenue for such projects, it would receive much more in terms of facilities such as the Derrick Smith School, which were needed at this stage of the island’s development.

He reiterated Government’s commitment to creating a Barbados that is socially balanced, so that all Barbadians, even though they might have different competencies, would be integrated into the island’s development planning.

Stuart thanked benefactor Derrick Smith and his family for their thoughtfulness in funding the school, and Sir Charles Williams, who donated the two acres of land where the school is located. (BGIS)


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