by Linda Straker
- Social Development Ministry has been re-certifying recipients and several dozens were removed
- Programme contaminated with people due to some unfair practices
- 7,575 people are now receiving SEED financial assistance
Social Development Minister Philip Telesford has disclosed that during May and June 2023, 200 people were added to the list of citizens who are receiving financial assistance through the Support for Empowerment Education and Development (SEED) programme.
Addressing a town hall meeting at the National Stadium on Wednesday, 28 June, he claimed the relevant staff at his ministry has been re-certifying recipients and several dozens were removed. That savings allowed Government to assist an additional 200 people.
“Based on the savings we had recognised, we were able to get on 200 new persons onto the programme. These are people who were worthy of being on the programme. They were otherwise excluded because it was contaminated with people who should not be on the programme because of some unfair practices,” he told the meeting.
He explained that one of the unfair practices included rigging the system so that those who should not qualify become eligible. Telesford said that the manipulation of the system caused people who can work to become recipients of the programme.
In a national address last week to mark the first anniversary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the office, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said that his government was able to add 500 new cases to the SEED programme as of April 2023.
In an interview with Dr Kellon Bubb, the Prime Minister said that among the people who were removed during the recertification were new government pensioners. He explained that some of the SEED recipients were people who had worked for years with the government, and because they were not receiving a pension, they were added to the list so they could receive assistance financially.
The High Court ruled in March that the 1985 enforced Pension Disqualification Act was a violation of retired public servants’ constitutional rights. Over 500 retirees affected by the 1985 law immediately became qualified to receive a government pension.
In April, Telesford informed the Lower House of Parliament that there are 7,373 active beneficiaries benefiting from SEED. In June 2022, there was a change in government, and at that time, there were 7,107 people in the programme.
The government has not disclosed the number of people removed from the list, but with 200 new people included, it means that 7,575 people are now receiving SEED financial assistance.