Public consultations on revised social protection policy start on Tuesday

The Department of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment is preparing to engage with members of the public on the revised draft National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) from Tuesday May 17 to Wednesday May 25, 2022. The objective of the policy review is to ensure that the NSPP adequately addresses all dimensions of poverty that affect citizens throughout their life cycle. Specifically, the revised NSPP now forecasts the impact of health, economic and environmental shocks on quality of life. Highlights of the revised policy include increased labor market opportunities for eligible citizens, increased support and broader coverage for vulnerable citizens and communities in Saint Lucia, and a minimum standard of living guaranteed by the income support.

Other key features include a strategy to transition welfare recipients, an eligibility framework, and institutional strengthening mechanisms for effective service delivery at the agency level. Permanent Secretary Velda Joseph urges leaders and representatives of social support NGOs, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to attend and participate in consultations so they can ensure the interests of their constituents are fully considered . “Social protection programs are also demand-driven. If people don’t know they’re eligible for certain types of care and support, they won’t engage the system, and that defeats the purpose of creating these mechanisms.

The consultation schedule is as follows:

Soufriere, Choiseul and Canaries are scheduled for May 17 at the Leisure Inn, New Development Soufriere.

Gros Islet, Monchy, Babonneau, Castries Nord and Castries Center on May 18 at the Center Pastoral Marisule.

Castries/Anse La Raye area – May 19 at Jon Odlum Secondary School, Marigot.

Vieux Fort and Laborie and surroundings on May 24 at the NSDC of Vieux Fort.

Micoud and Dennery on May 25 at Chateau Heritage, Dennery.

All consultations begin at 5:00 p.m. and transportation will be made available to meet interested individuals to and from the consultation locations.

Joel C. Hicks