The Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) has maintained its commitment to assisting local charities and service organizations through donations totaling BDS $60 000.
Chief Executive Officer of ICBL Geoff Scott presented the cheques for $10 000 to six non-profit organizations during a virtual presentation ceremony and press conference on Thursday (October 14).
Scott said even though it continues to be a challenging time for businesses in Barbados, it was also a tough time for charities. “This is an awkward time, but definitely it is not the time to pull back; this is the time to actually step up. So, we are reaching deep inside the company to make sure that we step up when it is really needed. Like all businesses, we are facing new, unprecedented challenges. But doing right for our communities and doing right for Barbados is in our DNA at ICBL,” Scott said.
Scott noted that ICBL has always been consistent in its approach to corporate social responsibility and that responsibility remained even in a recession and a challenged economy. He stressed that ICBL was in a unique position as an insurance company to understand what was taking place in Barbados with Covid-19 this year and other issues in the past like diabetes and cancer.
“The truth is that we see it; we have thousands of Barbadians that have their health insurance with us. We have insurance policies for various types of life insurance, and we actually see some of the toughest and most difficult impacts in Barbados.
“We actually see that at the front line at ICBL and it makes us maybe a bit more aware of what’s going on out there. So, we are keen to support these organizations that are doing so much and most of them doing it on a volunteer basis, which is remarkable,” Scott said.
One recipient was The Challenor School, which will put the funds towards its restoration work after the school was severely impacted during the passage of Hurricane Elsa in July. Marcia Brathwaite, Secretary to the Board of Directors, stated that the school’s greenhouse was destroyed, the workshop’s roof was blown off, and another building was damaged by fallen trees. The damage was valued at $70 000.
The other recipients were The Barbados Red Cross, The Salvation Army, The Barbados Diabetes Foundation, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados and The Barbados Cancer Society.
Their representatives outlined how the funds will be used to continue their projects since their fund-raising efforts were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the last two years, the Breast Screening Programme of the Barbados Cancer Society was unable to host its main fundraiser, the Walk for a Cure, while the Barbados Red Cross could not administer its First Aid training programmes. The result of this has been a vast reduction in income for both entities.
The Barbados Diabetes Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Cally Boyea expressed gratitude for the donation.
“The Diabetes Foundation is so, so appreciative of the help and the generosity of ICBL. So, I want to say a big, big thank you and to say to all at ICBL that you are always there when we need you most,” an emotional Boyea said.
The funds will assist with the Foundation’s programmes, including the launch of a national Retinal Screening Programme aimed at reducing the incidence of blindness among the 60 000 diabetics in Barbados. Additionally, it hopes to reduce the number of amputations from 300 annually by acquiring a Vascular Scan Unit to check for blockages in the vascular system.
Sharing similar stories, Danielle Toppin, Director General of the Barbados Red Cross and Sherma Evelyn, Business Manager of the Salvation Army, spoke of the welcomed donation since both entities rely heavily on assistance from its partners to ensure the continuity of their work.
Michelle Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, said the last few months had been tough, but the Foundation continued to “plough through”. Daniel said they continued to work with other organizations and partners to make a difference, and they considered ICBL to be “a true and valued partner in our journey”.