The St Kitts Nevis Labour party will “pay close attention to rationalizing social protection programmes and reprioritizing them to support the people who need these interventions the most.” This is according to Governor General Deputy, Her Excellency Marcella Liburd Esq Jp who delivered the Throne Speech at the opening of the new session of parliament on Tuesday morning at the Marriott resort.
Her Excellency Liburd said that the new SKNL Administration will enhance the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP)in an effort to serve as a social safety net to truly empower the
most vulnerable and improve their standard of living, thereby eradicating indigence and significantly reducing poverty across the Federation.
According to her the government has already transferred the Programme to the Ministry of Social Development and is set to start the process of the registry.
“We are also well advanced with the rollout of the re-registration process. This has become necessary as there is ample evidence that no credible standards were used during the initial registration process to determine the eligibility of beneficiaries for the programme. Citizens and residents enrolled in the PAP will therefore be re-assessed based on need. We also strongly believe that there should be a process to wean people off the programme. In this regard, our Government will introduce special programmes to assist recipients to improve their lot so that
they can graduate out of the programme and create space for others needing the support. This approach will ensure the success, sustainability and longevity of the PAP and other important social safety net programmes.”
Reformation of what is often referred to as the PEACE Initiative is also high on the administration’s agenda according to the Governor General Deputy. Who indicated that ” the way it has operated since its introduction, our Government believes that most citizens would agree that there is a better way for empowering our at-risk young men and women.”
She explained that going forward, the SKNLP will make skills training an integral component of participation.
“Young men and women enrolled in the PEACE initiative would be given the opportunity to learn a marketable skill and will be provided with support to either acquire gainful employment or opportunities to start their own businesses. Participants in this Programme will also have a pathway for development and graduation. It is envisaged that the Programme’s graduates would become more positive and productive citizens and contribute to the overall development of the Federation.”
Legislative changes will be made to ensure the protection of women and children as the government is cognizant of the fact that gaps exist in the provision of services which are meant to focus on offering protection.
“We have therefore initiated action to make amendments to the relevant pieces of legislation that are intended to help to limit domestic abuse. Additionally, training will be provided for police officers and other persons who interact with families that are experiencing relational problems. The services at the Special Victims Unit will also be upgraded to provide better detection of and response to domestic violence. Our Government is committed to ensuring that special victims can see the dawn of a new day and experience a better way of life. We intend to create a Special Victims Centre which will serve as a safe space for transitioning victims of domestic and sexual abuse and troubled youth who are not criminal offenders.”