Social Justice Activist, John Rullow is calling for a full investigation to be done into the operation of the government-run Support for Education and Empowerment Development (SEED) that is operated from within the Ministry of Social Development.
Rullow’s call comes in light of the removal of four hundred persons including himself from the list of beneficiaries in the programme with effect from early in the New Year.
Ministry officials claim that the World Bank, which provides the funding, did the removal of some people.
Minister of Social Development Delma Thomas referred to a proxy means test that is undertaken by the World Bank to test the qualification of beneficiaries in order to determine who should qualify.
According to Minister Thomas, a consultant in London, and not anyone in Grenada did all of the testing.
However, Rullow who is visually impaired and lives in the Venezuela-built LaCalome Housing scheme in St. David’s said after consulting the World Bank’s Representative for the Eastern Caribbean he was advised to send them a letter about his case.
He spoke of receiving a response from the World Bank, which said that the responsibility for the implementation of the SEED Programme is the Government of Grenada through the Ministry of Social Development and Housing.
“I wanted to confirm what the minister said to the nation,” he said.
“Is the minister telling the truth? It is time in this dear nation that the people come clean,” he added.
Rullow suggested that something is going wrong with the operation of the SEED Programme.
“You intend to pull off four hundred people from a programme funded by the World Bank to mitigate poverty, to lessen poverty, poverty reduction programme (and) you’re taking $200.00 from them. What are you doing but to sink people into deeper poverty,” he said.
In 2009 Rullow began receiving the subsistence allowance under SEED.
He received the letter of discontinuation two months ago advising him that the allowance is being terminated effective January 2017 as his scores no longer place him as being poor and vulnerable.
However, Rullow is adamant that his financial situation from 2009 has not changed as he remains visually impaired with no other source of income.
He believes the onslaught on him is politically motivated, but was not surprised at the turn of events as some regard him as an open critic of the Keith Mitchell-led Administration.
“It is a malicious act (and) involves partisan politics,” he remarked.
Rullow is credited along with several others for playing leading roles in the “successful “no” vote campaign in the November 24 constitutional referendum in which all seven bills were heavily defeated.
During the government weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Minister Thomas challenged members of the media to conduct their own research into the SEED operations.
The senior female minister said she has nothing to hide and that she can only report the truth.
“I know you (the media) have information otherwise, I can only give you the truth, at the end of the day you will research and decide whether or not what I’m saying is the truth, and I urge you the media if you get anything different to what I say after your research, then you can call on me, I will be prepared to tender my resignation because it means I’m lying to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,” she said.