The government of the Republic of China will partner with the Barbados Government on the construction and/ or renovation of four multi–purpose community centres across the island.
This morning Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett as well as the Chinese Economic Commerce Counsellor, Wu Gangchen, and the Chinese Embassy’s first Secretary, Wei Bo, along with officials from the ministry toured the sites where these centres are to be located. Speaking to the media at the site of the old Bancos building/co–op supermarket in Silver Hill, Christ Church, though Blackett stated the cost of the projects had not yet been arrived at, he revealed the Chinese would underwrite the full expense.
While reporting that the ventures were still in the preliminary stages and they did not have a clear view of when they would be started, he noted that plans were already drawn for the enterprises in Silver Hill and another at [Kinglands] also in the same parish.
The other centres toured were the Clapham community centre in St. Michael and the Rock hall community centre in St. Thomas.
The dilapidated structure at Silver Hill has been proposed as a multi- purpose facility. Upon completion, it will house a recreation facility so the community could engage in developmental activities, Minister of Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who is also the parliamentary representation for Christ Church West Central, said.
In addition, Lashley said the bottom level of the building was proposed to house at least three shops. The facility is expected to be heavily used by the community for sports so it will be fitted with changing rooms.
The upper section will feature an open layout to allow for youth groups and community groups in the area and adjoining districts to use the facility for their various activities and it will also be have office space for the constituency council as well as Welfare Department personnel.
Lashley continued: “We are hopeful that the necessary action will be taken to bring this project to fruition… We hope that we can have this done in a reasonable time. Indeed the residents have been looking forward to it for a long time and we are very happy that we … can move forward in this very important project.
“This facility will also be critical in accomplishing many of our goals set out within our National Youth Policy. That policy speaks to the development of innovation centres in the community where young people, in particular, engage right at their doorsteps. We are seeing an increased interest in cultural activities, we are very keen in developing more community groups.
“The intention is to not only to develop the kind of systems to allow people to be innovators but to attach to that commercial section so that persons can actually get involved in commerce.” (KC)