THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Production Dr Faith BYisrael says new plans for the distribution of food cards within Tobago are in the works.
During Friday’s virtual post-Executive Council media briefing, BYisrael said there is a new policy on the distribution of food cards issued by the assembly.
She recalled that previously, temporary food cards were given as a one-month supply preloaded with $500. She noted that if one needed additional support, they had to reapply and then go through the process again to see if they could get an additional one-month support.
“Coming out of covid19, the Executive Council decided to do something differently.
“Instead of making it a one-month food card for $500, we would provide, in the first instance, food cards for a three-month period. So if you are approved for the food card, because we’ve gone through the assessment process, that food card would be for a three-month period.
“At the end of the three months, we would then be able to do another assessment to determine whether you need additional support. This additional support can go up to one year.”
She said the social support staff within the division now has the responsibility of determining if people should get the $500 supply on the card or that they should get more than $500.
“If you are a family of maybe one person, or a single parent with one child, maybe you would get a $500 card. But if you have three or four children, obviously $500 would not cut it. So based on that situation, we would then determine whether you would get $1,000 or $1,500 per month for the three-month period.”
The distribution of food cards was a source of controversy during the last PNM administration.
An Auditor General’s report on the island’s public accounts, for October 2019 to September 2020, revealed irregularities in the assembly’s disbursement of $7.8 million worth of food cards.