(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Residents across the length and breadth of St. Kitts are beginning to fill the halls of the various application centers for their chance to complete the registration process as part of the Team Unity Government’s historic Poverty Alleviation Programme.
Through this programme, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will provide financial support in the amount of EC$500 per month to those households whose total gross monthly income falls below EC$3,000.
The Poverty Alleviation Programme is being implemented in three phases, with the first phase being the data collection drive. Phase two will consist of an investigative and assessment stage during which the data collected will be verified to determine whether individuals who have applied for the assistance are genuinely eligible and phase three will see the commencement of payments to qualifying households.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, in a national address on Thursday (August 2) evening, encouraged all individuals who fall within this parameter to visit the data collection center in their communities to register under the landmark programme.
“At the heart of this Poverty Alleviation Programme is our desire to help disadvantaged households to meet some of their essential living expenses and, in so doing, to be able to have a standard of living that does not compromise their health or their dignity,” Prime Minister Harris said in his national address.
The honourable prime minister explained that this programme, which is one of the major promises made by his Team Unity coalition in the build up to the 2015 general elections, will serve to improve the poverty situation in the twin island Federation.
“We inherited a situation where too many people were among the working poor, unable to pay their electricity bills, and to keep up with the 600 percent increase in water charges imposed by the bygone Labour administration,” Dr. Harris said, while noting that, “If they were to give an honest assessment of the poverty situation in St. Kitts and Nevis, the detractors would have to acknowledge that something should have been done to improve the lot of thousands of people in the Federation.”
Prime Minister Harris referenced the findings of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) funded Country Poverty Assessment in 2008 which provided a quantitative and qualitative analysis of living conditions in the Federation.
That assessment, according to the prime minister, revealed a national poverty rate of 21.8 percent of individuals across St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Harris further stated that the survey advised the Douglas administration that ‘some of those without jobs resorted to informal and underground type activities’ and that ‘there has been a persistence of the phenomenon of the working poor’.
“Today we take a giant step in service to the poor and the indigent,” Prime Minister Harris added. “Today we go further than any other administration in the last 25 years to improve the condition of the poor and allow them to benefit from our shared prosperity.”
The full list of assigned application centers is being broadcast on ZIZ’s Bulletin Board, on social media, and will also be published in newspapers. Additionally, the full list of centers will be posted at Government Headquarters at the front of the Passport Office.
According to the prime minister, the registration exercise is expected to commence on Nevis after the Culturama celebrations.