Ministry cracks down on misuse of SEED funds

Persons receiving assistance under the Support for Education, Empowerment and Development (SEED) programme and not using the funds for the  purpose that it is intended for,  are being warned by the authorities that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

“…We want to say to the persons who are involved that there would be zero tolerance for your behaviour, it would not be accepted,” proclaimed Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas who made the disclosure in delivering her Ministerial Statement during the last sitting of the House of Representatives last week Friday at the Trade Centre, Grand Anse, St. George.

Minister Thomas told Parliament that her ministry “would not just sit on the side” and allow such behaviour to continue, or for the exposed cases to be disregarded.

“We are going to be more vigilant, we are going to be working with the police…that is why we are engaging the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) to be involved when we have those cases…”, she told the Lower House.

The female government minister who is the Member of Parliament for the St Andrew’s North West constituency warned that the persons involved in “such deplorable actions” would have to “pay back the monies” or be “taken to court…because we are not leaving those cases to go unnoticed.”

The cash transfer SEED programme, which is funded by the World Bank was first launched in 2012 as part of the Social Safety Net Reform programme in Grenada.

The overall aim of SEED is to reduce poverty and increase investment in human capital among the poor and vulnerable.

Three major cash transfers are unified under SEED – School Transportation Allowance, the Necessitous Fund and the Public Assistance Programme.

Some benefits under SEED include Conditional Cash Transfers linked to such things as the recipients’ adherence to health checkups and school attendance.

According to Minister Thomas from last January to May more than 700 persons would have received financial assistance through the SEED programme.

She noted that despite the enforcement of the Structural Adjustment Progrmamme (SAP) her government is protecting the vulnerable within the  tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“So we are seeing more persons getting assistance even at a time when we are cutting back on our spending…. It speaks to the priority of this government,” she said.

The Social Development Minister also used the opportunity to extend International Family Day greetings to the nation.

The Day, which is celebrated on May 15th, was observed under the local theme: “Men championing the cause for healthy relationships in families.”

“This theme”, Minister Thomas told the House, “brings to the forefront men as leaders and advocates within their homes and communities.”

“This theme also seeks to highlight the tremendous contributions men are making within the tri-island state,” she added.

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