Permanent Secretary Lewis Tafari at PAP launch
Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 24, 2018 (SKNIS): “Today’s historic disbursement of cheques under the government’s Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) has been met with great excitement and gratitude as was expressed repeatedly at the official launch ceremony held on Monday, December 24, 2018, at the Independence Square in Basseterre.

The PAP provides a stipend of $500 monthly to households whose gross monthly income is less than $3,000.

“Everything is excellent and I feel good,” said retiree Cephas Manners, who said he planned to use the money to pay bills.

“I am very excited and thankful. I am going to make a big shopping for my family,” said Carlene Caines, another beneficiary of the programme. “I think it is something very good that they [the government] are doing for the country to help out everybody,” she added.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Beatrice Rose Greenaway, who said that “this is wonderful. I have been supporting this thing for years.”

Another beneficiary Dion Hon, thanked Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris for the leadership he has shown by expressing: “The prime minister is ‘good people’ and I thank them [the government] very much.”

At today’s launch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services, Janelle Lewis Tafari, said the funds were “not a hand out but a hand up.”

“Many of us here will know about how poverty affects us. For the older person who cannot afford medication, instead of taking medication every day, they decide I will take on Monday, skip Tuesday, take Wednesday, and so forth—the poor household where the children don’t get enough to eat and they have to decide well I can’t go to school because I have a hungry tummy,” Ms. Lewis said.

Prime Minister Harris said today’s launch is a “blow against poverty and hunger” and encouraged persons to make use of the funds wisely.

There are close to 4,000 households set to benefit from the PAP.