Social protection programmes are “powerful instruments” that can reduce poverty and encourage social cohesion.
This was stated by Assistant Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham, who moved a motion on poverty reduction and social cohesion at Thursday’s (May 28) plenary sitting.
“Poverty reduction and social cohesion are among the main goals of the Assembly, as it strives to enhance the general well-being and improve the quality of life in the society,” he stated. This can only happen, though, if Tobagonians ensure they make full use of the social protection programmes provided by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Cunningham said. He pointed to the Assembly’s numerous policies and initiatives geared toward improving the quality of life on the island.
The Social Welfare Unit, for example, offers a wide range of services that lend support to various groups in society, including the elderly, less fortunate children, the disabled, victims of natural disasters and other people in need.
“Their mandate is to provide income support to persons over 65, income support to disabled persons between 18 and less than 65, financial assistance to the infirm and needy, assistance to children whose parents have died or in prison, enhance the quality of life of recipients and other necessitous persons,” he explained.
Cunningham stated that Tobagonians in need can utilise various grants and other benefits, including senior citizens pension, grants for public assistance, disability, general assistance, housing repair, household items medical equipment and home health care.
The THA has also assisted with dietary, funeral, education and special children’s grants, as well as pharmaceuticals, household rent, school supplies, urgent temporary assistance and special achievers funding to those who require them.
He asked members of the House to support the Assembly and all its relevant agencies in their efforts to reduce poverty, nurture social cohesion and improve the quality of life of all Tobagonians.
The House accepted the motion.