Aug 13, 2008 News
Human Services and Social Security Minister, Priya Manickchand, yesterday revealed to this newspaper that an announcement as to what possible measures of assistance can be dispensed by the second week in September given that the technology being utlilised will allow for a relatively fast analysis of the data entered.
Speaking with this newspaper yesterday, one of the students from President’s College, Tricia Braithwaite, working on the database noted that some of the categories of information being recorded apart from contact information were the status of children living in a home as well as the income that is maintaining the family.
The majority of persons who submitted the more than 35,000 registrations forms were from the Region Four area.
Among some of the difficulties presented in completing the database is the fact that some persons have registered more than one times with different addresses among others.
The register will be the determining factor on how the $100M allocated for the programme will be distributed, given that different persons would require different forms of assistance.
Manickchand has had to fend off a barrage of criticism leveled at the initiative because of what was seen as a delay in rendering any form of assistance utilising the $100M.
The Minister is quoted in the media as emphasising that the specific form or method of assistance has not been arrived at yet, given that the Ministry will have to analyse the data received to determine how best to assist the single parents.
“Single parents by their very nature are recognised by Government as a vulnerable group and so the process will allow for information on the numbers of people we are dealing with and the type of intervention they need,” she had said during last month’s launching.
The programme was launched by the Ministry as skyrocketing food prices began to take its toll on single-parent households and, it is generally aimed at cushioning the high cost of living.
At the launch, when she made the announcement during a press briefing at the Ministry’s Water and Cornhill Streets office, Minister Manickchand was joined by six female parliamentarians: Dr Desrey Fox, Gail Teixeira, Jennifer Westford, Jennifer Webster, Pauline Sukhai-Campbell and Indra Chandarpaul.
“The rising food prices are largely because of external factors and it is something they have no control over so government has taken several measures to address the high cost of living,” Manickchand stated.
The move, described as a Cabinet initiative, is targeting women who act as sole financial anchors as well as men who run single-parent households.
More than 200,000 forms were printed and were available at the Ministry, all schools and at the National and Regional Democratic Councils.
Minister Manickchand had said that the register complements a growing list of government assistance programmes including difficult circumstances, uniform and public aid.
She stated that even before the National Budget allocation, more than 16,000 persons were benefiting from public assistance
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