Categorized | National News

Mayaguana To Get Pre-Paid Cards Soon

Mayaguana residents who are a part of the government Department’s Food Assistance Programme can expect to have their pre-paid visa cards before December 2016.


According to Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin, says the service is provided to all those on the island based on need rather than entitlement.


The programme aims to assist persons who are living under the poverty line in the country with a little relief.


“We are indeed our brothers (and sisters) keepers as God has commanded us to love one another; to care for each other and of course that the strong must bear the infirmities of the weak and so that is the mission of Social Services,” she said.


“When people refer to my area as a ministry, they may mean it as a government ministry, but my social workers know that we are not just a government ministry, but that we must minister for Christ. When people are hurting, when people are in need – no matter what it is – we must serve them and give service as unto God.”


The Visa Prepaid Card, which was introduced in New Providence in November 2014, replaced government food stamps.


The card was introduced to make transactions more efficient for both cardholders and vendors.


Some 9,000 Bahamians depend on the government for social support.


“The Visa Pre-Paid Cards provide clients with a better way of managing their purchases during the course of a month and at their convenience,” Minister Griffin said.


“No longer will clients have to pick up all of their groceries at one time or in one place. With the food coupon, if clients went into the food store and did not use it all at one time, that was it. Now, clients can measure their spending to better suit their household needs. If they want to buy meat at one place, and their dry goods at another store, they now have the flexibility to do that.”

The qualifications to obtain food assistance are persons earning minimum wage or lower; be a Bahamian citizen or of permanent resident status; over the age of 18, and must be the head of the household.

Once the applicant fits the aforementioned criteria, he or she must make a request to the Social Service Representative (SSR) at the nearest outreach center, take a preliminary interview, and have an in home visit for assessment.

Following this, the applicant would be contacted and advised whether they qualify.

During this time, the individual would be informed of which food assistance programme they qualify for be it temporary that lasts for six months or permanent food assistance, which lasts for a full year.

Minister Griffin also noted last year that one of the benefits of this programme is that it directly positively affects children.


According to the 2013 Household Expenditure Survey, there is a direct correlation between poverty and education.


“The intent is that all families must qualify through a proxemics test and will receive a base amount to their household however, in order to receive the add-on amount they must make sure their children attend school on at least 90 per cent of school days,” she said.


“They must also ensure that where they are failing school, they attend remediate classes. There is also a bonus amount given to every child on the program that graduates from secondary school.”


There is no deadline or fee attached to the programme’s participation.





Written by Jones Bahamas

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