Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Minister: No fraud, politics in Christmas Food Support cards

Photo via Facebook, the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo via Facebook, the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Social Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has assured that the distribution of food support cards to families in need over the Christmas period was above board.

This, as Government has denied claims that there was any fraud involved in the process, nor any use of the card as an inducement for political support.

Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Christine Newallo-Hosein raised questions over transparency and accountability in the selection of recipients for the distribution of the financial aid, accusing Government of failing to ensure proper measures are in place to prevent potential fraud and abuse.

Robinson-Regis dismissed the MP’s claims, noting that just under 4000 households benefitted from the distribution of Christmas food support from the Ministry at the end of December 2019.  

The Minister noted that the distribution of these cards is an annual exercise undertaken by the Ministry, over the past decade in keeping with the spirit of caring and giving associated with the Christmas season. 

Card delivery began on December 4, with distribution by Ministry officials on specified days and times. All recipients were contacted by their respective MP Offices and informed about distribution venues, dates and times. 

One hundred cards, each valued at $550, were given to each of the 41 MPs for distribution to vulnerable households within their respective constituencies.

Robinson-Regis said 3959 households benefited from the initiative, at a total cost of $2,255,000 - inclusive of the cost of the cards.

She said the selection process was thorough, with MPs providing the Ministry with a list of needy families from their constituencies, not exceeding 100 families before food support was provided.

Funding for this initiative comes from the Food Support Vote under the Ministry of Finance.  

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