The beginning of July marked the first month of implementation of the Transition Grant Programme so a new digital system is being tested to collect information from beneficiaries.
The programme, being introduced by the Social Development Department, is for the fulfilment of Recommendations B8 and B9 under the agreed Commission of Inquiry
At a recent joint press conference with Governor John Rankin
, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said social workers were deployed into various communities to test the programme.
“The Department dispatched social workers into communities, including the Sister Islands, and commenced the use of a digital system to capture the information needed for registration and enrolment of beneficiaries [referred from the House of Assembly] into the Public Assistance Programme (PAP),” Dr Wheatley said.
“The electronic registration tool, developed with assistance from the World Food Programme, is being piloted among transitioning beneficiaries. It provides the added advantage of enhancing the transparency and objectivity of the validation process undertaken by the Public Assistance Committee,” the Premier added.
He noted that the ongoing process demonstrates the government’s commitment to implementing the required change.
“The Government of National Unity, the public officers in the respective ministries, and all parties including the Governor and the Governor’s Group are working hard and are seriously committed to delivering the implementation plan for addressing the COI
recommendations and the other reforms,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Premier added that a tremendous amount of work continues to be undertaken to deliver the recommendations.
“I wish to commend and express sincere gratitude to the dedicated public officers who have been working diligently to meet the stipulated deadlines. Although we have had some slight delays in implementing some of the reforms, in a few cases we are ahead of schedule,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley noted that, in accordance with Recommendation B7, preparations are underway to commission a review of Social Assistance Benefits and Grants Administration Systems in the Virgin Islands
with technical and financial support from the United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF).
“The terms of reference were finalised in consultation with the Governor and Minister for Health and Social Development, issued by UNICEF along with a Request for Proposal to potential bidders, and will shortly be submitted to the Cabinet, together with an update on the project,” Dr Wheatley said.