Wednesday, April 24, 2024

EDITORIAL: Keep up the good work


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THE RECENT grand opening of the Derrick Smith School and Vocational Centre at Lears is a classic example of private sector philanthropy meshed with responsible participation by Government in providing a solution to felt needs in our society.

The school will cater to persons with learning disabilities aged 11 years and older, as well as to adults. It combines a secondary and a vocational centre. The combined effort of Government in providing the running costs of the institution follows the donation of the two acres of land by Sir Charles Williams, and the construction costs of $10 million being provided by Derrick Smith, one of the owners of the prestigious Sandy Lane Hotel.

The development of such a facility follows on the construction of the Sunshine Village at Perry Gap which caters for children with special needs up to the age of 11 years, so that this project fills a gap in the critical area of special needs education.

There are many lessons beneficial to the society to be grasped from this effort. It is an example of how philanthropic efforts by wealthy individuals and to a lesser extent companies can benefit a society. It is called in ordinary Bajan parlance as “giving back” but it involves some degree of fiscal cooperation in that the Government often facilitates the private sector effort through concessions.

We support such responsible use of governmental policy to make these efforts possible and we urge the society at large to take a responsible approach and support government’s participation in these efforts since critical areas of social need are often supported by these kinds of ventures.

Each one of us is a human being subject to the vagaries of life, and sometimes to the grave misfortune of our young ones they are afflicted by disabilities which affect their capacities to learn.

History is full of examples of people who have made significant contributions to their societies in the face of disabilities and we cannot afford to discard the talents of a single member of our society. As a nation and society we have to be keepers of our brothers and sisters who have disabilities of one kind or other

We congratulate all parties involved in this project and we draw particular attention to the path-breaking and socially beneficial work done by the Sandy Lane Trust in which Derrick Smith is a key figure.

Prime Minister Stuart’s commitment to provide the right environment for philanthropists to find it easy to do for Barbados what they really want to do, is a step in the right direction.

We support national efforts to encourage philanthropy, whether from those who have chosen to live and invest within our country, or from locals, and we urge the Government to continue to review and adapt our laws as necessary to encourage these welcome acts of social responsibility. As the prime minister himself noted, although there is some ceding of revenue, this country receives more than it concedes in these instances. On top of all that, these facilities are needed at this stage of development.


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