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Minister looking to change block culture


Minister looking to change block culture

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A TRANSFORMATION of the block culture will be among the priorities of new Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian “Medic” Forde.

After arriving for his first day on the job Monday at his Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael office, Forde said he was excited to be involved in such a ministry.

“I really have an interest in redefining the blocks because persons believe that block life is just about guys sitting down in the ghetto doing nothing. I want to see the blocks being economic centres [and become an] oasis of businesses,” he said.

The Christ Church West Central parliamentary representative, who toppled former Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley, said the business strategies he successfully initiated in that constituency would be expanded to wider Barbados. He added he planned to traverse the country with the objective of turning blocks into businesses.

“I really think we have to get those blocks working. I will be going around Barbados to ensure that the blocks don’t just remain a block culture where people believe that they sit down and do absolutely nothing, but that there are businesses on the block,” he reiterated.

Forde said this vision would be combined with the creativity of young people.

Respect, growth

“We have to give them the wherewithal so that they can develop and become self-sufficient and global citizens. That’s my dream, so I will work with alacrity to ensure that we have a change in the direction and meaning
of the blocks.

“Obviously, it will have an impact on the community at large because if you redefine the blocks, inadvertently you change the concept of community life, where persons have more respect for each other and there is growth,” the former community leader noted.

The pharmacist also emphasised economic equality in Barbados.

“There must be fairness across the board where persons from the bottom of the spectrum feel that they have a sense of entitlement. There must be social justice,” he said, while making reference to the Barbados Labour Party’s manifesto proposal of assisting small business people within communities.

Untapped potential

The former secondary school teacher said it was a “surreal” feeling to be chosen by Prime Minister Mia Mottley to head the Youth ministry.

“It is something that I have been doing for the past 20 years, working with young people. I believe young people will provide the wheels for the new millennium, in terms of whether it is the green economy, the innovative sector or e-commerce,” he said.

“I think there is an untapped potential with young persons and there is no better creative mind than the young people of this country. Barbados must be able to be gassed by the efforts of the young people in terms of the engine.

“So I am happy to be involved in a ministry that will transform Barbados because I think that we have to build a creative economy, and we can only do that by using the tentacles of young people, the creative imagination of young people,” he added. (EZS)