Community Management Committees Launched
March 10, 2023
“Community Centre Management Committees are vehicles and conduits to impact scores of Barbadian communities.” This assertion was made by the Hon. Charles Griffith, Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, during the launch of the pilot phase for the Community Development Department’s Centre Management Committees, last month at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The pilot project, which saw the establishment of four Centre Management Committees at Drax Hall and Greens Resource Centres in St. George, Rices Resource Centre in St. Philip and St. Elizabeth Resource Centre in St. Joseph, is part of the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring longer opening hours for community and resource centres across Barbados.
Speaking directly to the Committee members, the Minister stressed that the initiative was not about them as individuals, but was more about their collective work to empower Barbadian communities to be the best they can be. He urged the Committees to reach out to the young people around them, contending that in ten years’ time, they will see the benefits of their outreach.
In giving examples of possible activities, the Minister suggested the creation of study halls in the community centres, to facilitate those who may need a more conducive space to assist them as they prepare for their exams. He added that with the support of the Committees, communities should see increased positive activity and engagement at and around the centres.
Also speaking at the launch was the Hon. Dwight Sutherland, M.P., who insisted that Barbados must embrace its young people and steer them away from a life of crime, which can only end with imprisonment. The Minister noted that 85 percent of prison inmates were under the age of 35 years, and therefore it was important for communities to empower youths to lead positive lives. He called for a return of the spirit of volunteerism in communities, emphasizing that if this fails, the sense of ownership of communities will be lost. Referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment welcomed the re-opening of the community and resource centres, adding that they can be game changers in Barbados, once fully utilized. The pilot phase will be followed by a roll out of Community Management Committees for all 39 active Community Development Department managed facilities across Barbados.