JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has suggested that both political parties need to sit down and devise a workable mechanism for dealing with future hurricane relief funds.
Mr. Golding made the recommendation in the House, yesterday(March 18), after it was revealed by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, that the Ministry had received a number of false claims by persons claiming to have been affected by the passage of Hurricane Dean in August last year.
“I’m going to suggest that both sides have some discussion about an appropriate and effective mechanism for dealing with problems, such as these, in the future. We have been through several of these (hurricanes) and we have not got it right. The system that is used to send people out there to go and capture information is not working in so far as the production of a clean, verified and accurate list is concerned,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that there needed to be a mechanism in place to ensure that persons identified as having being affected by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, receive the assistance they need.
“Some of them who have suffered damage may be covered by insurance, and may be able to be in a position where they can afford to repair their own houses; so how do we determine the ones who are genuinely in need, who have really suffered,” Mr. Golding said.
“We have not got that right up to now and therefore, by whatever system you use, whether it is social security going out there, whether it is the Social Development Commission helping out, you end up with a list and when you are authorising payments, you are not sure that you are using tax payers money to provide relief for people who deserve it, or who are entitled to it,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller said she was in support of the recommendation made by the Prime Minister. “We stand ready to meet to see how we can work together to find a suitable way of treating any form of disaster in the country,” she said.

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