The Ministry of Finance is developing new guidelines which will apply to persons wanting to invest in Barbados through charitable means.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made the announcement today as he indicated that Barbados was ready to welcome substantial investments through philanthropy even if it meant Government would have to forego “a few thousand dollars in revenue”.
He made the comments at a special unveiling ceremony for the newly built US$10 million Derrick Smith School and Vocational Centre in Jackmans, St Michael. The school, catering to adolescents and adults with special needs, was funded by the private sector. Government will be responsible for meeting operational costs.
Expressing gratitude to the private benefactors, Stuart said there was a number of people who wanted to “give back” to Barbados and Government, therefore, had decided to put “a menu of mechanisms in place” to make it “easy” for them to do so.
“Governments in these days want all the revenue that they can get and, therefore, wherever there are revenue opportunities, it is the want of Government to try to seize those opportunities,” he said.
“But we decided that we had to groom a cost benefit analysis. We had to decide what were the benefits we were going to get from these instances of benefactions such as that which we are enjoying here this morning, and how would that measure up against the revenue that we would have to forego.”
“You will agree with me that any government that is willing to be assisted to the extent of US$10 million really can look askance at a few thousand dollars in revenue because this facility satisfies a need that it would have taken the Government of Barbados, in existing circumstances, many years to accomplish,” Stuart added.
He said while Government was committed to ensuring that other charities, benefactors and philanthropists who wanted to give back to Barbados were able to do so “as easily as possible”, he did not want “the relationship between benefactors become invidious because we treat some benefactors to [better] than we treat others”.
For this reason, Stuart said the Ministry of Finance “and its officials sat down to work out a formula on the basis of which preferences and prejudices can be pushed aside and a set of principles developed that would cover all of those philanthropists, benefactors and all of those do-gooders who want to make a contribution to Barbados.”
“Those rules are going to apply and therefore we urge all those persons who want to contribute to Barbados by way of philanthropy to understand that the ears of the Government are open and our arms are also extended to ensure that we can work together in a joint relationship between philanthropist and the Government of Barbados,” declared Stuart.
He said the state-of-the-art learning facility was the realization of a dream of the late Prime Minister David Thompson who highlighted “the importance of philanthropy to the development of Barbados”.
Saying he hoped to see “many more projects” of that kind in Barbados in the coming years, Stuart also called on residents to “combine to build Barbados and make it a socially balanced society”.
“Benefactors like Sir Charles Williams, we hope Barbados can produce many more of them. We do have a respectable number but we can always do with some more. I want to assure all of you that the Government of Barbados is on board with you and is committed to ensuring that we make Barbados the most humane society in the Western Hemisphere,” the Prime Minister added.