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Minister Baksh promises: Disaster grants up $20,000 next year
Community Development Minister Nizam Baksh has promised that disaster grants will be increased from $10,000 to $20,000 in the new year. Speaking at a cheque and hamper distribution ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s Penal constituency office yesterday, Baksh said his ministry was making every effort to improve delivery of services to the people. He boasted that after the disaster in Icacos, the Government was able to distribute $10,000 home refurbishment grants to residents within six days.
“Over the past few years, it took almost two years for families to get these grants...We are now processing these forms in 14 days and we plan to keep up that track record,” Baksh said. He added that when he took office, he also made the grant available to religious organisations which wanted assistance to refurbish their places of worship. Baksh also promised to build a children’s play park for the residents of Penal Rock Road. He also vowed that a community centre would be built at Bunsee Trace, Penal by April next year.
Meanwhile, chairman of the National Commission for Self Help, Surujdeo Mangaroo, said more than 250 food hampers were distributed to poor families, along with $10,000 cheques. He said $6.6 million was spent to assist poor families. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who delivered the feature address, said the social intervention strategies were part of the Government’s crime-fighting plan. She said that during the PNM regime, her constituency was starved of resources. She added that it took years for someone in her constituency to get grants from the Government.
Persad-Bissessar said she was committed to improving the lives of the needy in her constituency.
She said her team had provided assistance to Verne Bahadur and his six children who live in abject poverty at Morne Diablo, Penal, since last week, contrary to media reports. Persad-Bissessar said she was happy that the media could bring situations like those to her attention. She promised to act swiftly to help poor people of the nation and to provide an equitable distribution of resources to all citizens.
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