The Government of Grenada says the proxy means test administered by the World Bank has determined the persons most eligible to receive monthly financial assistance under the revamped Support for Education, Empowerment and Development Programme (SEED).
The new version of this safety net programme, functions strictly under World Bank criteria which takes into consideration whether or not beneficiaries have a monthly income of less than two hundred EC dollars, own any income generating establishments, or have access to commodities such as electricity and running water, among others.
Assessments have resulted in more than five hundred households being added to the programme, as well as four hundred and seventy-six persons being identified as no longer requiring the financial assistance.
Addressing the media at Government’s Post Cabinet Briefing on Tuesday, Minister for Social Development and Housing Hon. Delma Thomas said politics had no role to play in the phasing out process, as the proxy means testing conducted by World Bank consultant Yadira Diaz bypassed all political bias and identified the households most in need.
“The assessment was not done by the Ministry of Social Development, so there should not be any political interference…we should not be able to arbitrarily remove persons from the programme,” Minister Thomas said.
The minister also informed that the World Bank/Government of Grenada agreement has in place an appeals system for persons who feel they have been incorrectly assessed, and that Cabinet has appointed an eight-man appeals committee of independent persons to deal with such cases.
“If you got a letter saying that you were deemed ineligible and you believe that you should be on the programme, then you have a right to appeal the process,” she advised.
The Social Development Minister expressed regret over the fact that disability is not named among the World Bank criteria, but says her government can look into other ways to assist incapacitated citizens.
“We do give subventions to the Council of the Disabled, so maybe we can look, as a government, at giving more subventions so that they can provide more services for persons with disabilities,” she said.