Social Development and Housing Minister, Delma Thomas is distancing herself from political tribalism and polarisation which appear to be dividing the Grenadian society.
Addressing the House of Representatives last week Friday during the 2016 budget debate, Minister Thomas said she has always made it clear, “I am not an NNP (New National Party) Representative.
“I am not an NNP Minister. I’m a Minister for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” she quipped.
“If I’m supposed to only serve the people who voted for us in the last election, I am prepared today… to tender my resignation as minister and as Parliamentary Representative because I cannot serve persons who only vote for NNP. I am not a green person, I’m a person… who was called with a mission by God to serve the poor and vulnerable persons”, she told the sitting.
Minister Thomas who is the Parliamentary Representative for St. Andrew’s North-west said there are members of the NNP who believe people from the other political parties should not receive governmental assistance.
She chided NNP supporters who indulge in ridiculing opposition members.
“This divisiveness – when you believe because the person voted for ‘yellow’ they shouldn’t come around you, and the office is an office for only people who vote for NNP, I say take a walk… If that (is what) you expect me to govern over, I cannot. I will be working for everybody within Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique who need our help,” she told Parliament.
The Social Development Minister referred to the Support for Education Empowerment Development (SEED) Programme noting that it goes beyond the political line to ensure that no one falls through the crack.
There is an allocation in the $1.1BN budget of $13.8M for the SEED Programme, and Minister Thomas said her ministry will be spending in excess of $11M in trying to uplift people out of poverty.
She stressed that the programme should not be used as a permanent assistance for people unless the recipient is an elderly person.
She indicated that a student who is on the programme should graduate out of it once he/she completes school and finds a job.
Minister Thomas also served notice that housing assistance is for everyone who is in need.
According to her, over $5M was spent on housing during 2015 benefiting close to one thousand families.
She acknowledged that there is a dire need for housing assistance in the country and chided those Housing Officers who neglect giving assistance to people who do not support the government.
“This assistance should not be based on who you support, it can’t be, and I want to stress that,” she said.
The senior Government Minister told the House she was called to office to look after everyone who needs government’s assistance.
She said housing assistance through the house repair programme is offered to people who are receiving under $1,500 monthly.
Six million dollars is allocated for housing in the incoming 2016 budget cycle.