Parliamentary representative for St James North, Edmund Hinkson, is complaining that many of his constituents have either been taken off the welfare roll or have had their benefits cut.
He is calling on the Freundel Stuart administration to clearly spell out its welfare policy towards the poor, unemployed and persons with disabilities.
The opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member raised these concerns in a press release sent to Barbados TODAY.
“No reasonable explanation has been forthcoming from the political directorate as to why this has happened,” Hinkson said. “These are in the main single mothers with many children of school age, persons with disabilities and senior citizens who
are not beneficiaries of old age contributory pensions.”
Hinkson, who is the Shadow Minister of the Ministry of Education, charged that the welfare grant to individuals had been cut in the 2015-2016 Estimates by 32 per cent from what was actually spent three years ago in the year leading up to the 2013 general election.
He noted that the grant for welfare recipients was less than $16 million, down from over $23 million a few years ago.
Making a plea for a clear outline of Government’s policy on the delivery of welfare grants, Hinkson said: “The Minister of Social Care or some other member of the Cabinet needs to clearly spell out what is the Democratic Labour Party’s policy as it relates to people being taken off the welfare roll and whose welfare allocation is cut.”
Hinkson said Government also needed to inform the public as to what programmes it had put in place to provide opportunities for Barbadians taken off welfare to become gainfully employed.
Arguing that the poor in Barbados are further marginalized with the introduction of cuts in welfare grants, the St James North MP said: “It is socially dangerous and politically unwise for any Government of Barbados to just cut off poor, unemployed and disabled persons from the welfare system without any strategy as to how they will be provided with money for their continued viability and for the survival of their dependents.”