Probation officers are now deployed in all ten administrative regions. The Assistant Chief Probation and Social Service Officer at the Ministry of Social Protection, Ricardo Banwarie, said this is a major accomplishment for the Ministry in 2016.
Speaking with the Government Information Agency, Banwarie explained that public assistance is one of the safety net programmes of the Ministry. He added that with the deployment of the officers in all regions, all districts are functioning.
Assistant Chief Probation and Social Service Officer, Ministry of Social Protection, Ricardo Banwarie
“We have 33 districts in the country and all 33 local guardians are functioning. We have the Poor Law Commission in Georgetown and that is also functioning so it’s an ongoing process and everyday persons are coming,” Banwarie said.
Public assistance is a life line for persons with extremely low income and those who, for medical or other reasons, are unable to work. However, Banwarie noted that efforts are underway to assist persons to become self-sufficient and not rely on public assistance.
Banwarie pointed out that the Ministry has partnered with the Central Recruitment and Man Power Agency (CRMPA), the Board of Industrial Training and the Ministry’s People of Worth Entrepreneurial Resources (POWER) and Women of Worth (WOW) programmes among several others, for assistance to ensure that “our clients are given the service that they require.”
Additionally, the Assistant Chief Probation and Social Service Officer indicated that the ministry has already trained officers to be effective in guiding and encouraging persons to become independent. “We would have had stories where officers would have worked with persons who are not able to manage their finance and now they are managing their finance. Some have even started small businesses like chicken rearing and others so that they can be able to sustain themselves and family,” Banwarie said.
In the 2017 National Budget, $14.8B was allocated for social services under the Ministry of Social Protection. Public Assistance will increase from $6500 to $7, 500 effective January 1, 2017.