Social Protection Interventions Provided for the Poor and Vulnerable Under the 2016 Budget

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 15, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has assured that several social protection interventions will continue in 2016 during his Budget presentation on December 15, 2015.

He said that “improving the wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens is a moral and constitutional obligation” of the Team Unity Government. He said that it was important to do this as the Government pursues its “vision for sustained socio-economic development in St. Kitts and Nevis.” The most vulnerable families and individuals must be assisted in elevating themselves, the prime minister said.

“We have a duty to help our most vulnerable citizens to achieve their individual life goals and maximize their potential as productive contributors to nation building,” he said. “Our vision would be realized with the successful modification and execution of several ongoing social protection interventions spearheaded by the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Development during 2016.”

The ongoing activities include the establishment of the National Single Household Registry, the completion of the work to develop an appropriate Proxy Means Test to objectively target the most vulnerable families and individuals, the development of a Management Information System (MIS) to effectively manage data and the expansion of the Mold, Empower, Nurture and Direct (MEND) Families Programme from 21 families in 2015 to 42 in 2016.

The vulnerable sectors of the society in St. Kitts and Nevis will also continue to be protected next year as outlined by Prime Minister Harris.

“This Government will strive to create an enabling environment that promotes and protects the rights of all vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly, and persons living with disabilities,” he said, noting that in order for this to be achieved there has to be “the implementation of the Child Protection Protocol and the Gender Based Violence Protocol which provide systematic guidelines and procedures for addressing incidences of child abuse and gender-related mistreatment respectively.”

The Prime Minister revealed that in 2016 capacity building exercises will be undertaken to “appropriately equip key implementing agencies to execute their duties in an efficient and professional manner.”

“As part of our commitment to protect and promote the inherent dignity, worth and the inalienable rights of our differently-abled citizens and residents, steps will be undertaken to facilitate the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities in 2016,” said the third prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

He further noted that the ratification and implementation of this convention will “open new avenues” for the differently abled so that they can “effectively contribute to the social and economic advancement of our society.”

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