JIS News

As of October 31, 302,000 beneficiaries have been registered with the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), with the majority of those being in the parish of St. Catherine.
This figure is up from 247,629 persons on record, as at April 31 of this year.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, who made the disclosure in the House of Representatives on November 25, in response to questions posed by Opposition Spokesman, Derrick Kellier, noted that beneficiaries of PATH do not remain on the programme indefinitely, as its dynamism requires on-going certification of their status, to ensure that only eligible persons continue to receive benefits.
He pointed out that no qualified beneficiary has been removed from the programme between January and September 2008, except for persons who died, migrated or children who graduated from high school.
“Approximately 8,620 beneficiaries were terminated between January and September 2008. Of this number, 6,521 students graduated from high schools and were no longer eligible to receive benefits under the programme,” Mr. Charles outlined.
The Minister further explained that in terms of the recertification and rehabilitation process, the recently launched Special Youth Employment and Training Project (SYEAT), seeks to assist unattached youth or other vulnerable adults to participate in the labour market. He also cited the Steps to Work Project, which is being undertaken by the Ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank.
“Terminated PATH beneficiaries are assisted under these programmes to facilitate further education, skills training and entrepreneurship. There is also an on-going recertification programme, and families removed from the programme have the right to appeal. There are Parish Appeal Committees, comprising reputable community members and families terminated from the programme may reapply for assistance one year after termination,” Mr. Charles informed.
The Minister said that according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), it is estimated that 380,000 persons are below the poverty line and that the Government has therefore, approved an additional 115,000 beneficiaries for PATH. He said Members of Parliament (MPs) were requested to recommend persons who satisfy the criteria for inclusion, and that islandwide investigations to have the programme fully subscribed, are in progress.
“Whilst many persons recommended by MPs qualify for PATH, there are instances where persons recommended are already selected; are NIS pensioners, who are not targeted under the programmes; and are young, able-bodied adults without children, who are not targeted by PATH,” Mr. Charles told the House.
The programme is expected to be fully subscribed by March 2009.