The Hon. Steven Blackett, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development,
Senator Dr. David Durant, Chairman of the National Assistance Board,
Mr. Andrew, Gittens, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development,
Ms. Charyn Wilson, Director of the National Assistance Board,
Ms. Colleen Walcott, Assistant Director of the NAB,
Residing families at the Lancaster House,
Friends from Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning.
It is my great pleasure today to attend the Donation Ceremony held at the Lancaster House. I sincerely thank the National Assistance Board colleagues who thoughtfully arranged this event.
In May this year when I called on Minister Blackett, the Minister briefed me on the development of social care and welfare services in Barbados and the function of the National Assistance Board. I also got to know that the Lancaster House, providing temporary accommodation for homeless people, among them elderly persons in particular due to disasters was in need for some remedial works. Showing our goodwill of lending a helping hand, I expressed the willingness that the Chinese Embassy could make its contribution in this regard. Today, this comes true--with a donation of 35,000 Barbadian dollars from the Embassy, the refurbishment project of the Lancaster House can be fully financed so as to better accommodate those who temporarily suffer from shortage of shelter.
China and Barbados have enjoyed a 39-year friendly relationship and fruitful pragmatic cooperation in all fields, and social development is one of these key sectors of cooperation. With some 22 grants from the Chinese Government, many projects including Garfield Sobers Gymnasium and Cheapside Market were constructed not only to bring benefits to local communities but also to serve as a symbol of our two peoples’ friendship. The rehabilitation project of the Gymnasium, which is currently being carried out with a new China aid, will surely better serve the people and the country of Barbados starting by holding 2017 Carifesta upon its completion. In the past years, the Chinese Embassy has also made its own efforts to help improve local social care and welfare services by making donations within our capability to senior villages, children care centres and public schools, and we will continue to do so.
Finally, I want to say a few words to the residing families at the Lancaster House. In Chinese philosophy, misfortune may be a blessing in disguise and disasters can be conquered with love. Never give up your hopes, and you will get through difficult times with many helping hands.