As the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) moves into 2016, the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is about to bring more persons into the vulnerable safety net.
During his contribution to the debate on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Government Senator Winston Garraway informed his fellow Parliamentarians that the near three-year-old administration has been providing welfare assistance to hundreds of vulnerable persons in the society.
According to Sen. Garraway, 999 persons benefited from the Needy Assistance Programme at a cost of just over $2.2M.
He said the programme assisted the most vulnerable people throughout Grenada in areas of medical assistance, tuition, food and transportation allowance.
“For the many senior citizens, school students, and disabled citizens who have benefited from the programme, they know what it is to wake up and not having the means to prepare a meal, or the money to get the medication or to pay the transportation to get to school or college. They know the value of this programme, and they are happy to receive it,” he told the Upper House.
Recently, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell told the media that there is “increased assistance to vulnerable families” through the Support for Education Empowerment Development (SEED) Programme.
Sen. Stiell reported that in 2013 there were 5,391 SEED beneficiaries and at the end of October 2015, the number increased by 1,690 additional persons plus a further increase of 875 was anticipated by the end of November.
Sen. Stiell disclosed that to date approximately $8.5M has been spent on the SEED Programme, and in his budget statement for the 2016 fiscal year, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Keith Mitchell announced that his government intends to spend $13.8M under the SEED Programme.
Sen. Garraway dismissed claims from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the growth in the number of people receiving government’s public assistance is largely due to a failed economy under NNP.
Mitchell’s NNP swept to victory 15-0 over Congress in general elections held in February 2013 on a platform of creating thousands of new jobs, an influx of new investors and the building of a new economy for the island.