The first batch of Saint Lucians involved in the informal sector have begun receiving their much-anticipated payout of $1500 under the Government Income Support Programme (ISP) via the Safety Nets for Vulnerable Populations Affected by the Coronavirus Project.
Overseen by the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment, the ceremony on December 22, 2023 saw over 300 hundred ordinary Saint Lucians receiving financial assistance, that will help them in their economic recovery, a crucial financial helping-hand as they continue to grapple with the challenges posed by the persistent impacts of COVID-19.
“It you had a look at the persons who were at the ceremony you would see ordinary Saint Lucians, farmers and other persons that are part of the informal sector. Having a glance at these persons was a great joy for me to see the ordinary individuals that make Saint Lucia what it is. Sometimes we speak of the formal workers, those working in establishments, but those persons who are earning a living on their own, running micro-businesses, vendors and a whole host of them are very important to the Prime Minister and our government and we care about them so much. We said to them that $1500 is not a lot but receiving it at this time of the year is a wonderful gesture for most of them,” remarked Equity Minister Hon. Joachim Henry.
While over 170 of the 300 plus first set of beneficiaries received cheques, others benefited from direct deposits into their bank accounts.
Commenting on the number of men receiving this latest package of financial aid, Minister Henry seized the occasion to once again appeal to men to be financially prudent and help grow generational wealth.
“I think it’s an area of discussion we need to continue to speak about as we understand that our poverty level has remained the same for so many decades in spite of the growth of the economy. I’ve always said that fathers play a significant role in the creation of generational wealth. A lot of men were here today receiving their $1500 and I’ve exhorted men to examine closely how they can make that sacrifice together with the mothers of the children, so that the next generation actually is a lot stronger and better than this current generation in terms of the creation of wealth,” noted Minister Henry,.
In light of the high level of interest from the public, the deadline for submission of completed application forms for the ISP has been extended to January 31, 2024, to accommodate more applicants. To date over three thousand have applied to the programme.
To submit an application, interested individuals can visit the government website, www.govt.lc and click on the income support link. The project is financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and administered through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
In the coming months more Saint Lucians will receive payouts under the Income Support Programme, bringing the total number of recipients to approximately 5 thousand.