Close to a dozen healthcare workers and police officers who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” will be honoured for their selfless service to the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The We Care campaign was launched this morning by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds, during a Zoom meeting with members of the media.
As part of the initiative, ten frontline workers will be rewarded with either a seven-day staycation for two here in Barbados at a hotel or a trip for two to anywhere Barbados has direct air service, once commercial flights reopen.
Symmonds explained that while frontline workers were celebrated every Wednesday at he believed there was a need to honour them further.
He said they played a critical role in helping to sustain the island’s tourism industry.
“ . . . I think it is important for us in tourism to go just a wee bit further down the wicket. We in tourism represent 40 per cent of Barbados’ economic activity and frankly it is a sector that directly and indirectly accounts for about 40 per cent of Barbados’ employment and that equates to roughly 50 000 people who earn their living by way of the tourism sector.
“When we see people like our healthcare workers and our security personnel on the frontline dedicating themselves in the middle of this COVID-19 environment where it is exceptionally difficult and dangerous, I think it is very important that we pause, take stock of the effort they are making and reflect on how best we can signal in a very real and tangible way our appreciation for that which they do,” the Minister said.
“The effort made by our frontline workers literally is the risking of their lives to preserve an infrastructure and to resuscitate the opportunity to ensuring the livelihoods of about 50, 000 Barbadians whose living is directly or indirectly related to the tourism sector being resuscitated.”
Symmonds acknowledged while they were other frontline workers risking their lives, this particular initiative only catered to healthcare workers and police officers. However, he said consideration would be given to rewarding those other essential workers at a later date.
Director of Marketing at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) Tenisha Holder, revealed that the We Care campaign will run from May 1 to 22, 2020.
She said persons are being asked to nominate their frontline heroes currently working through the pandemic by sharing outstanding stories.
Those stories can either be submitted via social media platforms or by letters no more than 100 words.
Holder said while a person can nominate more than one person, they cannot nominate the same person more than once.
A judging panel will assess the nominees and choose ten winners and they will be announced by June 12. (RB)