The people of St. Michael Central are my business!
This emphatic message was sent to members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party from parliamentary representative, Steve Blackett, during a fiery presentation at the George Lamming Primary on Sunday night.
His comments came against the backdrop of criticism levelled against him by two members of the BLP camp, after he went about a mass canvass exercise in his constituency last week. According to Blackett, he was accused of looking after his personal business when he should have been stabilising the country instead.
“The representation of the people of St. Michael Central and the visiting of them is my business. And if I am being accused of looking after my business, I stand guilty man!”
According to Blackett, “I want to tell them this – social care and social protection is not a 8-5 job, it is a year round commitment and vocation.”
Blackett told the party faithfuls that neither his stewardship nor performance need validation from the BLP, maintaining that his record in the constituency is stellar. He acknowledged that one of the concerns in the constituency was that he was not visible enough.
“That is one of the shortcomings of most MPs, especially if you hold ministerial positions. That is not an excuse… but after all you are human beings. The mere fact that somebody wants to see you is an indication that they still want to see you, they still have time for you, so I am going to be correcting that very shortly,” he said.
Blackett highlighted the breakfast feeding programme which reaches on average 140 children every morning in the constituency. He alluded to 40 houses that were built and repaired throughout the constituency, with two new homes under construction, along with de-bushing programmes and several repaved roads, as some of the work carried out in the constituency.
He said in spite of the challenges facing the country, there are still fail-safe mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that society is largely insulated and capable of withstanding any adverse economic conditions.
Additionally, he said the Ministry of Social Care, which he leads, has the responsibility as the foremost body for social protection in Barbados, to roll out programmes with broad enough cover and influence to strengthen weak family units, to reinforce fragile communities, to re-equip social care delivery institutions, and introduce programmes that will directly touch and positively change the lives of those captured in the social safety net. (JH)