The Grenada Government, this month, is signing up 5,122 families under its reorganised social services system known as SEED (Support of Education, Empowerment and Development).
This means over 10,000 people now stand to benefit from monthly payments, under a multi-million dollar scheme, partly financed by the World Bank, to help the country’s most vulnerable.
These people, with minimal income, can get up to $400 per month — a sum that was initially promised by a previous government but never attained.
The new figure of beneficiaries represents an increase of over about 500 households — in effect about 1,200 people — over the previous version of the programme which ended this year.
Officials at the Ministry of Social Services are in the process of formally registering the beneficiaries, the vast majority of which were also part of the just ended version of the last programme.
Manager of the SEED programme Lenora Buckmire said every household in Grenada has been assessed under what is known as the Proxy Means Test (PMT) to determine who qualifies for the monthly assistance.
Mrs Buckmire noted that scores are assessed under a formula devised by the World Bank that ensures the elimination of subjective analysis and personal bias.
Of the thousands assessed, only 476 failed to pass the test, mainly because they had graduated to higher income brackets which made them ineligible.
Under an appeal system set up for greater transparency, even those so assessed, can appeal if they think the assessment was erroneous in any way.
Everybody previously on the programme had to re-apply, to allow for an updated assessment to determine whether they will be kept on.
There has been a 95% retention, plus the new additions.
“We are proud that some people can graduate as we seek to empower more, but we al also determined to continue helping more and more people who need it,” Mrs Buckmire said.
“We appreciate that even at a time of economic growth, more employment and expanding opportunities, there are still many people, especially the elderly that are vulnerable. We as a nation are committed to taking care of them and giving them a hand up,” she said.