As the eldest of these clubs in Barbados, Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, celebrated its 40th anniversary over the weekend, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart called for units of the organization to be spread across the island.
This club was joined by the some of the other four in Barbados and those of Antigua, St Lucia and Martinique to observe this milestone at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination for a gala dinner on Saturday evening.
Guest speaker Stuart said: “Kiwanis are undoubtedly a force for good. You create a win-win situation for all those who participate in your activities. As such, I believe that there should be a Kiwanis Club in every community for the benefit of the needy, and to build the values that you seek to cultivate in your membership.”
Further commending the Kiwanis for their work, the Prime Minister spoke of changes in the Barbadian lifestyle, owing to “the prolonged economic downturn since 2007, and by societal decline in general, which has forced us to put more emphasis on our individual physical and material well-being and to become less concerned about others”. He added: “Unfortunately the convergence of these forces has so transformed hitherto geographically-based communities that they have become like dormitory neighbourhoods in which we drive our cars past our neighbours like strangers.”
Stuart said that a consequence of this behaviour was that many vulnerable citizens suffered in silence.
“What is more disconcerting is that an increasing number of people believe that all of this is inevitable and part of modern times.”
For this reason, Stuart said the Kiwanis and their community development work had become more relevant.
“Vulnerable members of our society cannot survive on their own. Similarly when we are in these vulnerable states, we can fall victim to powerful predators when there are no moral principles handed down from generation to generation to govern our behaviour.
“But individual misfortunes can affect the entire society. We therefore still need each other interacting in caring communities governed my moral principles.”
Outgoing president of the Kiwanis of Bridgetown, Ken Knight, noted that the club’s volunteers internationally were dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.
“The Kiwanis movement of Barbados has brought cheer and an improved quality of life for others, as we respond to the needs of children, the elderly, the youth, families, and the less fortunate. We have partnered with other organizations in giving hope.”
Focusing on the Bridgetown Club, Knight said: “Forty years of existence can best be described as a journey travelled by an organization of Kiwanians dedicated to altruist service, punctuated by numerous hours of sacrifice and commitment, which has been characterized by humanitarian love for everyone.”