T&T to help neighbours implement social program

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Several Caribbean countries have turned to Trinidad and Tobago for assistance in designing their version of a Conditional Cash Transfer (Food Card) program.

A formal request was made to Minister of the People and Social Development Dr. Glenn Ramadharsingh, by government representatives from Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and Guyana last week at the Inter-American Social Protection Network’s (IASPN) Technical Consolidation Meeting in Mexico.

In August 2006, Trinidad and Tobago launched a Targeted Conditional Cash Transfer Program (TCCTP) which provides an electronic cash transfer facility to beneficiaries through the use of a Debit Card for the purchase of a predefined basket of goods. A key plank of the TCCTP is that at least one member of each household should undergo skills development training in order that the household would become self-sufficient after a period of two years.

A statement from the government said Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and Guyana had asked “for technical guidance and to use Trinidad and Tobago’s social technology to help them design their program”.

“They have also asked that Trinidad and Tobago champions the creation of a Caribbean Social Protection Network for the region, as this country’s design gained international recognition by the organizations represented at the conference including the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the World Bank, and the Economic Commission for Latin America,” it added.

The IASPN was established by a decision of the Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development at their meetings of 2008, and the mandates issued by the Heads of States and Government at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009.

On that occasion, they committed to support the establishment of the Network to “exchange information on policies, experiences, programs and best practices” in order to strengthen “efforts to reduce social disparities and inequality and to halve extreme poverty”.

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