POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME TO BE FINE TUNED, SAYS PRIME MINISTER HARRIS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 20, 2019 (SKNIS): Government officials are revisiting the household list where individuals are receiving the EC $500 under the Government of National Unity’s Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) in keeping with standard procedures to ensure that the funds are being dispersed to families who fall below the $3,000 income threshold.

Speaking at the March 20 “Community Consultation” town hall styled meeting at the St. Johnston Community Centre, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said that work is being done to fine tune the programme.

“Some persons – two, three, four members – [from the same household] applied under different names and different titles but are the same persons and they ought not to be in the programme, and so we are tidying up the programme,” said the prime minister. “In a month or two, we put that behind us and we are ready again to go back out in the communities, so that those who for one reason or the other were not able to make it in the first, will have an opportunity to move forward.”

Prime Minister Harris noted that the programme “is not an issue of charity” but one of “social justice”.

“It blesses my heart when people come forward and acknowledge the difference that our programme and policies have been making in their lives. We said that we will give you, as it were, a top up, an income, an inflow of five hundred dollars to assist you to get a better quality of life and living,” he said, adding that with the monies persons should be able to pay their bills on time and their electricity and water should not be disconnected.

On Friday, March 29, 2019, persons who submitted their banking information can expect to see the 500 dollars deposited to their accounts, while persons receiving cheque can collect it at the Inland Revenue Department on Saturday, March 30.

The Poverty Alleviation Programme was launched on December 24, 2018 and was designed to improve the socio-economic status of citizens and residents in the Federation. To date, just over 3,553 households have benefited.

The Programme was implemented in three phases. It started with a data collection drive followed by an investigative and assessment stage during which the data collected were verified to determine whether individuals who applied for the assistance were genuinely eligible. The last phase – the commencement of payments to qualifying households – started in December 2018.

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