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Trouble in the camp

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party has “serious problems” with Government’s National Summer Camp Programme.

Spokesman on youth matters St. Thomas MP Cynthia Forde, said the $25 million spent on the projectsince 2008 was primarily an effort to “put some money in the pockets of the Democratic Labour Party’s people”.

She also told the House of Assembly the programme had discouraged voluntarism and ostracised and long standing camp organisers because they were deemed BLP “yard fowls”.

Forde was speaking in the Lower House as members debated a $614,000 supplementary resolution, funding to be used to pay caterers and others involved in the camps this year. The MP said the summer camp programme was “a burden” on Barbadian taxpayers, many of whom were unhappy with how it was being operated. She said the operation of the camps was too political and heavily in favour of DLP supporters.

“I thought that we were a people, especially at this time of Independence, who would want to talk about integration, who would want to talk about respect and tolerance for others,” she said.

“Yes I could understand the political divide at times, but in matters concerning national development and interest we should not be saying ‘this is a B that is a D, eliminate’. “It hurts me to know that … summer camps that were an open, community minded national minded project we can peter it down to political affiliation, and that is the only way you can be a counselor, or the only way you can be a director, if you are a political card person in the Democratic Labour Party.

“I believe that this whole project of summer camps was really to put some money in the pockets of the Democratic Labour Party’s people. There is nothing wrong with that if it is done the correct way,” she added. Forde said she had no problem with the expansion of summer camps for the benefit of Barbadian young people, but noted that Barbadians, like the BLP, wanted answers about the programme’s functioning, including why volunteers were being dissuaded.

“The (Barbados) Labour Party has serious problems and the public of Barbados, particularly the taxpayers, are extremely concerned about this project and we will make a difference whenever the time comes to improve Barbados,” she said. (SC)

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