by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Saint Lucia delegation wrapping up visit to understudy Grenada’s SEED Programme
- Team visited Grand Bacolet rehabilitation facility
A government delegation from Saint Lucia led by Minister for Equity Lenard Montoute is currently on island wrapping up a week-long visit to understudy Grenada’s successful strategies in implementing its safety net programme, the Support for Education Empowerment and Development Programme (SEED).
The minister and his team of public officials including Permanent Secretary Velda Octave-Joseph will be observing best practices and challenges faced in the implementation of the SEED programme as well as to understand the functionality of the beneficiary management information system and understanding the key component of the BMI in monitoring, evaluating and reporting.
The team also visited the Grand Bacolet rehabilitation facility to observe its operations within the context of several of the international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform project.
Minister for Social Justice, Equity, Local Government and Empowerment Delma Thomas on Tuesday cautioned the visiting delegation that the implementation of such a programme will be quite challenging in the initial stages, but once executed properly can be very effective in assisting the most vulnerable population.
“It will be new to your country and therefore you will have some challenges, especially us as politicians because in the past as politicians, people can come to us and a list of names be given and this person gets on but it will no longer be that way…in Grenada I am not involved in getting people on the programme and no minister within our government is involved as well. It will be a case where a person who gets on will be really in need,” she said.
Minister Thomas highlighted another major challenge with regard to the operating system used to run the programme. “There are other challenges because the assessment is done by the computer, the information you put in, you will get results based on that and therefore there must be a process where people can object in case a family might suggest that [they] deserve that programme, despite failing the proxy means test. Therefore, there must be an appeal process.”
Minister Montoute admitted that many of the programmes implemented in Saint Lucia to reduce poverty have underperformed. “Data from successive country poverty assessment highlight the persistence stubbornness of Saint Lucia’s poverty headcount, which has remained protractedly high at an average of 25% of the population over the past 2-3 decades. This initially in Saint Lucia poverty figures is symptomatic of a deeply entrenched systemic and structural persistent integrating poverty situation of 25% of households in Saint Lucia.”
“It is worth noting that while no significant gains have been made in poverty figures, the government of Saint Lucia has and continues to allocate a substantial share of its limited resources estimated at about $34 million on poverty reduction efforts,” he said.
Minister Montoute pointed to 6 factors that hinder the most vulnerable from accessing the safety net programmes that are available.
- Inadequate targeting framework which leads to both errors of inclusion and errors of exclusion this means although safety net programmes are available, non-poor households are accessing a substantial amount at the expanse of the poor
- The chronic fragmentation of the social protection sector which creates the right condition for exploitation of the system
- Mismatch between the actual deprivation and interventions provided
- Quantum of resources provided to the poor household often inefficient to left them out of poverty
- Poor is not incentivised to invest in their assets which is the human capital through education
- Lack of focus on the integrating of the poor household into the wider economy via the labour market or through enterprise initiatives.