Barbados has a broad social protection floor which does not need to be expanded. However, Government is working assiduously to improve the efficient delivery of social services.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, made this assertion this week during a courtesy call from Officer-in-Charge of the International Labour Organisation in Trinidad, Dr. Giovanni de Cola. Stating that an analysis was conducted on the island’s social services, Byer-Suckoo outlined that assistance was currently provided in the areas of health, housing, education, welfare and social security.
She said: “We have a broad protection floor so there is no need to expand, but we have to ensure efficient delivery. The resources and funds are there, so we are concentrating on having persons access these services in a quick and timely manner. We don’t want persons to wait forever to get assistance.”
The minister explained that the Prime Minister had mandated the Social Partnership to create action teams, which were categorised as Efficiency, Growth and the Social Protection Floor. She noted that she was on the latter team.
Further pointing out that it was important that the “triggers that activate our solid social protection floor be in place, especially in these economic times”, she said that some headway was being made.
“Assistance is given to vagrants, the disabled and the elderly. The energy grant is managed by the Constituency Council to ease the burden on the Welfare Department, and our National Employment Bureau is also enhancing its local and external employment services,” Byer-Suckoo noted.
Admitting that the process did have some challenges, she stressed that improvement was taking place.
“We had a situation where rents weren’t paid on time to private agents; we have improved on that so rents are paid on time and tenants wouldn’t have to face eviction notices,” Byer-Suckoo said.