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Case for the poor

Sherrylyn A Toppin

Case for the poor

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Barbadian businesses need to be more socially conscious in dealing with the poor, disabled and disenfranchised in the community.
In rising to support Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s budgetary proposals for 2010, Member of Parliament Hamilton Lashley today touched specifically on the banking and telecommunications sectors.
“There has to be some measure of control on interest rates that people charge to poor people in this country. I feel it is gross disrespect to those people that they are being hounded psychologically and physically harassed before being dragged before the law courts,” Lashley said.
“The Government cannot be trying to ease and provide a stronger safety net for the poor and most vulnerable and you have people outside what Government is trying to achieve terrorising the poor and vulnerable in this country, sir.”
Noting that he was not advocating that people shouldn’t pay their debts, Lashley said he wanted a more “tolerant and humane approach”, for the business sector to do their social investigation and work with defaulters.
Lashley said he had approached the telecommunications providers to supply free telephone service for the poor and shut-ins, but this too was rejected. He challenged the company which was making millions in profits to be more socially conscious.
“The development of this country cannot always be measured in dollars and cents. The entire philosophy and policy of the Democratic Labour Party as enunciated in its origins … is one of protectionism for the poor and most vulnerable at all costs.”
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