Government, in the next financial year, will initiate two pilot programmes which will draw both the unemployed and those on welfare into the mainstream economy.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit told the Parliament during his budget address this week that one of the programmes will be implemented in the village of St. Joseph.
The St. Joseph community has been identified by the latest Country Poverty Assessment as having the highest poverty head count in the country.
Prime Minister Skerrit says the pilot program in St. Joseph will target unemployed youth and single mothers with children aged three to twelve years.
“Unemployed mothers in this category who are already in receipt of some form of assistance will be required to undertake some type of work. Those who are not currently receiving any financial assistance will be provided with a stipend, on the condition that they undertake some type of work.”
The Prime Minister said further that parents will be required to attend Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings and these single parents will have to ensure that their children attend school.
Hon. Skerrit said the training programmes which were recently organized in St. Joseph and surrounding communities following the aftermath of the Layou floods last November will be followed up with activities which could lead to the formation of a cooperative so that beneficiaries would make maximum use of the training received.
Meantime Prime Minister Skerrit announced that a new housing development has been earmarked for residents of Silver Lake.
“Work has already commenced on designs of a new housing complex for the inhabitants of Silver Lake that will possess the amenities of any modern housing development,”
The Prime Minister disclosed that this intervention would seek to inject a sense of dignity and pride among the members of the small community of Silver Lake.
He said an employment programme similar to that which will be piloted in St. Joseph is also planned for Silver Lake.
“Families which are currently in receipt of public assistance will be assigned to undertake work with the local authority. Some persons have indicated an interest in caring for the elderly and will be assigned to the “Yes We Care Programme in the Roseau area. This assignment, it is hoped, will lead to more long term employment for these persons.”
These pilot programmes will be administered by the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs in collaboration with the local government authorities.