JIS News

The Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) is expected to achieve its goal of registering 360,000 beneficiaries within this financial year.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon Pearnel Charles, who made the announcement during his presentation in Parliament, Tuesday (Oct.12) in the 2010/11 Sectoral debate said, as of August, the number stood at 350,000, a 30 per cent increase over April, 2009.
He said that the Ministry has embarked on an aggressive island-wide campaign to register disabled persons and the elderly poor in PATH, having secured a US$2.6 million grant from the Japanese Government to finance the project.
He added that many of these persons are unable to travel to the parish offices, and the Ministry hopes to add 10,000 persons to the list of beneficiaries through the initiative.
Mr. Charles said, over the last year, several adjustments have been made to make PATH more responsive to the needs of beneficiaries. These include a 25 per cent increase in the budget to $4 billion, in response to the global economic crisis. He also noted that, in response to complaints about the time it takes to register, the Ministry has implemented a new management information system, which facilitates clients being advised immediately of their status, upon application at parish offices. He also stated that an appeals process has now been instituted for people who believe their applications need to be reviewed.
The Ministry has also introduced a minimum social protection floor, in keeping with international standards, whereby a minimum $400 per month is paid to beneficiaries who do not meet all conditionalities, rather than suspending their entire benefit.
Mr. Charles told Parliament that $10 million was paid out to 700 students last year, under a new benefit for PATH children who have graduated from high school and have matriculated into post-secondary institutions. The benefit was introduced in 2009, and beneficiaries are each provided with a $15,000 grant.
He also announced that this year more than 100 students in the PATH programme achieved passes of eight subjects or more in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

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